University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket by Sonia Levitin

Field of Philosophy: Epistemology

Plot Summary: Jack, who once had his heart broken, keeps his heart in a bucket so that he can focus on his work. This protects him from being hurt again, but it also means that he feels no joy or deep emotion.

Some discussion questions:

Jack has real experiences, but doesn’t feel anything – does this make his experiences inauthentic in some way? What makes an experience an authentic one?
What does it mean to be authentic?
Jack is breathing and working and eating and sleeping, but is he really living in any meaningful sense? Why does his situation seem so sad to us?
What is the relationship between knowledge and authenticity? Do we have to have knowledge about what we’re experiencing in order for our experiences to be authentic? Can we have knowledge of our own thoughts and emotions, or do thinking and feeling distort what we experience, or both?