University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: Morris the Moose by B. Wiseman

Field of Philosophy: Epistemology; Metaphysics

Plot Summary: Morris meets a cow and declares that the cow is a funny looking moose, insisting, despite the cow’s protests, that the cow must be a moose because she “has four legs and things on her head.” When Morris and the cow approach a deer for help, the deer insists that they are all deer, and when the three of them ask a horse to assist, the horse claims they are all horses. It is not until the animals see their joint reflections in the water that they conclude that they are not all the same.

Some discussion questions:

Why does Morris believe that the cow is a moose? Does Morris have good reasons for believing this?
Does the cow have good reasons for insisting she is not a moose? What are these reasons?
When the animals see their reflections in the stream, what makes them conclude that they are not the same after all? Is this a good reason for believing that they are not the same?
Does seeing something provide us with knowledge?
If you have good reasons for believing something, do you know it?

What makes a moose a moose? A cow a cow?
Is there something essential that makes us what we are? If so, what is it?
Would we stop being what we are if we lost part of ourselves? What part?
Does what we are change over time? If so, how?