Procreating in a World With an Uncertain Future

A few days ago, Aaron Bady asked on Twitter: Do people think about climate change when they think about whether or not to have kids? I m genuinely curious. As might have been expected, this sparked an interesting set of responses. I thought of tweeting a reply, but then decided that I’d rather think aboutContinue reading “Procreating in a World With an Uncertain Future”

Father’s Day is Almost Over, Hurrah

I have never celebrated Father’s Day and to this day have not had occasion to, for this is my first Father’s Day. I moved to the US in 1987 and did not celebrate in it India; my father passed away in 1979. I’ve received a couple of Facebook messages, some in-person congratulations and thankfully, noContinue reading “Father’s Day is Almost Over, Hurrah”

Dispatches from the Daddy Front – I

My first two days of full-time, stay-at-home fatherhood have been interesting. My wife headed back to work on Monday, her maternity leave over, and I took over, armed with a page of notes–written by my wife–detailing what my daughter’s schedule was to look like; its most important components were, obviously, her nap and feeding times.Continue reading “Dispatches from the Daddy Front – I”

The Slap of Love: A Mother’s Day Story

I should have 9511 stories about my mother. One for my every day of my life that she was alive. Today, I’ll recount just one of them. As just-above-waist-high kids, my brother and I used the local park for our evening sports sessions. In the winters, this mean cricket; in the summers, soccer. Play endedContinue reading “The Slap of Love: A Mother’s Day Story”

The Child’s Photographic Record and Personal Narratives

Like any doting first-time parents, my wife and I went a little photography-batty in the hours and days following our daughter’s birth. We had three cameras: two in phones, and one little Panasonic digital unit. We clicked away madly, recording every little change in expression, ever bodily movement that seemed significant. Those three cameras allContinue reading “The Child’s Photographic Record and Personal Narratives”

Babies and Personal Archaeology

Before my baby daughter was born, one of the most common statements made to me by extant parents was, ‘The birth of your child will change your relationship with your parents.’ Well, my parents aren’t around anymore for my relationship with them to be changed. In one sense. In yet another, I have come toContinue reading “Babies and Personal Archaeology”

Babies and Gender Construction

When I look at my daughter, my baby girl, I don’t detect her gender. I am aware of her sex, for it was announced to me, rather loudly and emphatically, by nurses and surgeons, when she was born, ‘It’s a girl!’ I am aware of her sex too, when I change her diapers. Other thanContinue reading “Babies and Gender Construction”

Babies and Personal Identity

As a professor of philosophy I have taught personal identity several times; almost always in introductory classes; mostly via John Locke, David Hume, and the Buddha, and by relying on┬ástandard examples in the literature (the Ship of Theseus for instance). Invariably, I begin my class discussions of ┬ápersonal identity by saying something along the linesContinue reading “Babies and Personal Identity”

A Beating, Dimly Glimpsed, Poorly Understood

Many years ago, I saw a terrible beating and didn’t realize I was looking at one. Till much later. No experience is unmediated; without membership in a linguistic community, without a background theory, there is no immediate experience to speak of. There is no ‘given’; to ‘experience’ is to know how to deploy a certainContinue reading “A Beating, Dimly Glimpsed, Poorly Understood”

Children Meeting Children: Observations from the Field

Last night, I attended a birthday party for a one-year old, extremely cute, daughter of friends of mine. Watching her vigorous, always entertaining, even if occasionally tearful, interactions with her two-year old cousin prompted some thoughts on how children exist in an interestingly idiosyncratic universe, one observable by, and sometimes even participated in, by adults,Continue reading “Children Meeting Children: Observations from the Field”