University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: Standing Up to Mr. O by Claudia Mills

Field of Philosophy: Ethics

Plot Summary: Maggie admires and likes her biology teacher, but she is against dissection and refuses to dissect a worm, declaring to the class that killing is wrong. Some of her classmates support her and some don’t, and her best friend agrees with her but doesn’t stand up to the teacher herself. Maggie finds that her principled stand also leads her to act in ways she later questions.

Some discussion questions:

Should all of our views be consistent? For example, if we say we love animals, does that mean we can’t eat meat?
Do animals have rights?
Is not feeling comfortable doing something a good reason not to do it?
Are we always required to do what authorities tell us to do? When is it acceptable to resist authority?
How do decide when moral rules apply and when they don’t?
Can we admire someone and at the same time think they’re wrong about something?