Summary

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is a story about love and loyalty in the face of a changing people.

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Mike Mulligan and also his steam shovel Mary Anne are a good team. But when more recent, more progressed shovels come along, no one desires to hire Mike and Mary Anne anymore–till Mike hears that the nearby town of Popperville needs someone to dig the cellar of their new tvery own hall. The pair end up the project before sundvery own. But how will they obtain Mary Anne out of the cellar that she has actually just dug? And if they don’t, will they obtain paid? While this substantially perplexes everyone at first, a little boy comes up via a brilliant solution.

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Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion

Loyalty

Mike Mulligan and also His Steam Shovel raises concerns about the nature and also principles of loyalty. Mike has actually the option of replacing Mary Anne with a more progressed shovel, but he stays loyal to his longtime partner instead, even though this loyalty means the pair can be out of work. Is Mike’s choice admirable, specifically if we assume that Mary Anne is a sentient being that cares for Mike and knows that Mike cares for her? Is loyalty inherently admirable, or does it depfinish upon what one is loyal to? Some argue that loyalty is a virtue in itself, while others lug up examples such as sports groups or even gangs to demonstrate that the value of loyalty could be dependent upon the object of loyalty.

The book also brings up concerns about reasons for loyalty. Answers to this question variety from how loyalty benefits culture all at once to exactly how it benefits individuals. Due to the fact that loyalty in between people is typically mutually helpful, could it be thought about selfish? Are civilization loyal to others bereason they owe them a debt of gratitude for being loyal, or bereason loyalty helps develop solid relationships, which is somepoint of value? All of this deserve to enable an adult to lead a discussion with kids on their experiences and views on loyalty–whether they think loyalty is vital and also what it indicates to be loyal. This can push the kids to question themselves on the idea of loyalty, reflect on how it is presented and brought out in their day-to-day life, and also assess whether and also once they think it is best.

Love

This book additionally raises inquiries about the nature and also morality of love. The book claims, “Mike loved Mary Anne”–what type of love is tright here in between the two? Is it love as union (having a desire to share an identity and wellness via one more person, even if outcomes in personal sacrifices), as robust issue (caring around an additional person for their sake and also always acting to promote what would certainly be best for their well-being), or as valuing (i.e. recognizing the distinct worth in the beloved and also responding to it or wishing to provide value to the beloved with caring)? Similar to loyalty, inquiries aincrease about when love is admirable or also justified–is it always, or does it depend upon what or whom you love? Are there ever times as soon as it is acceptable, or also admirable, to speak loving someone? If that can be justified, does that suppose that we love people based solely upon their properties (e.g., bereason they are funny or smart or attractive)? Or possibly properties are the factor we begin to love people, yet they end up being less important as time passes. Alternatively, tbelow might be youngsters who feel that despite the book stating “Mike loved Mary Anne,” Mike really did not love her. Rather than dislacking this opinion, it could be worthwhile to talk about with the team just how you present love, what kinds of world are worthy of love, and also whether tright here are specific tasks that one have to execute for an additional perboy if they truly love them. This conversation can refer ago to the book by asking the kids to determine certain points in the book wbelow they think an action had love, and wright here they could think it did not.

When discussing the topics of loyalty and love to kids, it might be beneficial to talk about them together as they are inherently interattached. For circumstances, a motivating variable of being loyal to someone might be that you love them, and vice versa. In addition, being loyal frequently results in one having at leastern some affinity towards the perboy, organization, or reason. In this means, many kind of inquiries can be discussed with both loyalty and also love in mind. When is it okay to not be loyal or not to love someone anymore? Do you tend to be loyal to those you love? For what reasons? How does one differentiate in between whether it is loyalty or love that drives one to take on specific actions on befifty percent of others? Are the 2 constantly intertwined? Can you have actually one without the other?

The instructor deserve to additionally initiate concerns about the similarities in nature in between loyalty and also love. Do you think they require comparable characteristics? Do you think that being loyal and loving someone both require that you be irrational at times, doing things that you would otherwise not perform (maybe because it’s wrong)? In this way, perhaps love and loyalty both clash with morality. (This might be slightly even more difficult and also would certainly job-related better via an older group of kids.) These inquiries will permit the youngsters to think about the values of loyalty and also love simultaneously such that they will certainly further get crucial abilities in correlative analysis.

Questions for Philosophical Discussion

Loyalty

Mike remains loyal to Mary Anne throughout the story, also as soon as he has actually the alternative to replace her with a potentially much better machine.

Why does Mike stick through Mary Anne even though tright here are better makers available?Is it excellent that he did? Do you admire him for it?If Mary Anne didn’t do an excellent project digging, would you still admire Mike for being loyal to Mary Anne and refutilizing to usage an additional machine that will certainly build much better houses for every one of us to live in?Who are you loyal to? Why are you loyal to that person?What can you be loyal to various other than people?How execute you display that you are loyal to someone?Have you ever had to break your loyalty to someone?Is it ever okay to soptimal being loyal to someone? What reasons would make that okay?Is it still great to be loyal to someone or something that does poor things?Why is loyalty important?

Love

Mike loves Mary Anne.

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Even though the book tells us that Mike loves Mary Anne, perform you think he really does?What’s the distinction between liking and also loving?What type of points did Mike do to show that he loves Mary Anne, or does not love Mary Anne?Who carry out you love, and who loves you?Why carry out you love them, and also why carry out they love you?Is it okay to stop loving someone?How perform you display someone you love them? How execute world present you they love you?Is it still great to love someone or somepoint that does bad things?Is it ever okay to execute something bad for someone you love?Why is love important?

Original inquiries and guidelines for philosophical conversation by Carly Yu and Mina Wolf. Edited June 2020 by The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics.