Is It Ethically OK to Lie About Santa? A (Final) Praxis Philosophy Night Discussion

When my co-host William Nava and I started Praxis philosophy night, a big objective for our conversations was pure fun.

I’ve learned from good teachers that philosophy is best explored as a game, with a playful and creative mindset. Good thinkers know how to play with ideas, embrace ideas they might not necessarily hold, and defend both sides of an argument.

Last night we had a discussion which embodied those values to a T – a TK, in fact. Praxis education director T.K. Coleman started the Praxis philosophy night call discussion years ago in the early days of the Praxis program. We considered him the perfect guest host to cap off our own string of philosophy calls*.

We decided wrap up our string of 18 philosophy night video calls with a discussion that perfectly fit the season: is it ethically wrong to tell children that Santa Clause exists?

In typical philosopher master form, TK Coleman expertly defends parents who tell their children about Santa. I feared that his position would be quickly and soundly rejected by the audience. He feared that he would convince us all in the first five minutes.

It turns out that we’re all better at arguing than we thought, and this discussion turned into one of our longest on record. Within this controversial argument about Santa Clause lie some great questions about the ethics and consent of surprises, parenting, and truth-telling.

BONUS CONTENT: About 10 minutes of argument about the economic rationality of Christmas lies ahead.

Have a very merry and a very philosophical Christmas! If you want to have similarly inspired/silly philosophical conversations with your friends, what are you waiting for?

*These calls are participant and alumni-hosted and attended. They do not reflect the views of Praxis, but if they did, wow, isn’t Praxis interesting? 

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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