Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Why Grow Up?

Why Grow Up?

Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age

Susan Neiman

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Our culture is obsessed with youth--and why not? What's the appeal of growing old, of gaining responsibilities and giving up on dreams, of steadily trading possibility for experience?

The philosopher Susan Neiman argues that the absence of appealing models of maturity is not an accident: by describing life as a downhill process, we prepare young people to expect--and demand--very little from it. In Why Grow Up?, she challenges our culture of permanent adolescence, turning to thinkers including Kant, Rousseau, and Arendt to find a model of maturity that is not a matter of resignation. In growing up, we move from the boundless trust of childhood to the peculiar mixture of disappointment and exhilaration that comes with adolescence. Maturity, however, means finding the courage to live in a world of painful uncertainty without giving in to dogma or despair. A grown-up, Neiman writes, helps to move the world closer to what it should be while never losing sight of what it is.

Why Grow Up? is a witty and concise argument for the value of maturity as a subversive ideal: a goal rarely achieved in its entirety, and all the more worth striving for.

EXCERPT

1. Historical Backgrounds



Possible Worlds

It's fair to ask whether philosophy can say much at all about a process as diverse as coming of age. Philosophers trade in general truths - some still seek necessary or universal...

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About the author

Susan Neiman

Susan Neiman is the director of the Einstein Forum. Her previous books, translated into many languages, include Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists, Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy, The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant, and Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin. She also writes cultural and political commentary for diverse media in the United States, Germany, and Great Britain. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Neiman studied philosophy at Harvard and the Free University of Berlin and was a professor of philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv Universities. She is the mother of three grown children and lives in Berlin.

Susan Neiman

Visit Susan Neiman's faculty page

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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