Education: Grade-School Philosophers

It was hardly the ordinary elementary-school class. First-graders were learning to categorize: "Four stores and three men make seven things in the world we can touch." In the same classroom, sixth-graders were making distinctions between things and beings: "If you have a friend who is only your friend when you are lonely, then you are using your friend as a thing." Another added perceptively: "You use a person as a thing if you have sex together and don't care about the person."

In fact, the experimental class set up in Newark's Morton Street School last year was designed to expose young children...

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