University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: On the Verandah by Philip Cam

Field of Philosophy: Metaphysics

Plot Summary: A little girl notices that her mind can seem to be in a different place even while her body stays in the same place. This happens when she is deep in thought and when she is reading. She explores what it means for our minds to wander.

Some discussion questions:

When you are reading a really good book, do you sometimes feel like your mind is transported to the land of the story? If your body remains in the same time and place, where are you really?
Is a mind the same thing as a brain, or are they different? What kinds of things are they? If they are the same, how does one seem to come apart from the other one? If they’re different, how do they connect? How does the mind control the body?
Have you had experiences where your mind seems to go somewhere other than in your head? When your mind wanders is it like when you dream at night? Is it something you can control? If so, how? Can you make your mind wander?
Why did the little girl call to ask her friend if she’d been in the same place?
Could there be a way for minds to meet somewhere without the two people seeing each other?
Can you imagine what it is like to be a bat? When you try to do that, do you imagine you in a bat’s body, or do you actually think of yourself as a bat? Is there a difference?
Can we ever know someone else’s mind? How? What are the limits to being able to know another person’s mind?