The Dead Philosopher's Cafe An Exchange of Letters for Children and Adults by Nora K, Vittorio Hosle


The Dead Philosopher's Cafe An Exchange of Letters for Children and Adults by Nora K, Vittorio Hosle

Eleven-year-old Nora K. received Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World as a birthday present, and in it she read about Plato's theory of ideas. One problem especially intrigued her: What about the platonic idea of the dinosaur? Ideas are timeless and cannot die. The dinosaurs, however, became extinct ages ago. Does the idea of the dinosaur still exist all the same? Could it ever be that the material world is a dream and time an illusion? Moreover, is there such a thing as free will, or is everything predetermined? Is the soul eternal? Do animals have a consciousness? Is the universe infinite? Is there such a thing as objective truth? Does God exist, and why is there evil in the world? These are some of Nora's questions which prompted her correspondence with Vittorio Hosle, a philosopher by profession, who invents a wonderful philosophical fantasy. Taking the film The Dead Poet's Society as his inspiration, he creates a place where the great philosophers of antiquity and their modern successors can all meet. They gather in the Cafe of the Dead But Ever Young Philosophers and discuss Nora's letters - Parmenides and Socrates, Descartes and Hobbes (whom Nora doesn't like at all), Mac (Machiavelli) and Kant, Nora's patron philosopher Giambattista Vico and Hans Jonas, and many others. The sparks fly from time to time, as the great thinkers squabble quite frequently - no wonder, since conflicting arguments from the entire history of philosophy collide with each other head-on. Nora's letters are intelligent, never precocious, and always imaginative. Vittorio Hosle provides answers which are entertaining but still critical, and he is clearly concerned about not setting his expectations of the child too low. In his afterword on children's philosophy and philosophy with children, he sketches what role philosophy could play in raising children. The correspondence with Nora, an authentic exchange of letters between January 1994 and January 1996, is a lovely document of a philosophical friendship between an adult and a child.

About the Author

Other Formats

Book Info


176 pages


Nora K, Vittorio Hosle
More books by Nora K, Vittorio Hosle


Publication date

30th April 2000



I have told all my friends, family & teachers to see for themselves just how great the site is. Without fail, they are hugely impressed.

Alexander Boxall – age 11

You give me age appropriate ideas of books I can read and buy for the children and find out what other children their age think of them too.

Katie Lonsdale

It’s a community united by a passion for books and promoting the best there is in children’s literature.

Sam Bateman and family

It’s really exciting to read and review new books, thrilling to see my reviews online and I love finding the final published copies on sale.

Sam Harper – age 10

A great way to introduce kids to great books, authors & genres. Parents can find age-appropriate books to share with their children.

Judi Davies – Aberdare Girls Sch

At @HHSHaringey we love @lovereading4kids because our pupils can practice reviewing & get free upcoming books before anyone else!

Helen Swinyard – Heartlands High

I think Lovereading4kids is an amazing company because of the friendly staff and the fabulous chance to read great books before publication.

Adam Graham

It gives me a chance to read types of books that I would not normally try, and it motivates me to read every night to finish it!

Alice Horncastle, age 14

Lovereading 4 schools