A conversation I had with my 3 year old daughter this evening while sitting under a tree looking at acorns.
Madeline: What do you call this?
Dad: It is a seed.
Mads: I like to call it a baby tree, because it will grow up to be a big tree just like this one [gesturing to the large tree we are sitting under].
Dad: Why do you say that?
Mads: Because that is what they do. Big trees used to be baby trees just like this seed, and then they grow up and are big. [translation: Because it is in their nature to actualize their telos]
Conclusion: my 3 year old daughter already apprehends a basic truth about her world (that entities in the world have teleological striving) that thick-headed materialists still don’t get.
Madeline 1. Materialists 0.
By the way, Curious George even knows this – read “Curious George Plants a Seed”. The synopsis:
Curious George watches Jumpy the squirrel bury an acorn in the yard. Upon learning that Jumpy is storing food for later, George decides to do the same. The man with the yellow hat comes home to find the kitchen empty and its contents buried in the yard! It’s time to teach George about what things grow and what don’t. George finally gets it right when he grows a beautiful sunflower from a seed.
Silly as it might sound, this story presents Aristotle’s distinction between things that have a nature (an internal principle of change) and artefacts (things that have an external principle of change) in a way that is understandable for toddlers.
Keep in mind, I’ve been a stay-at-home Dad for 4 months, so I am still transitioning from Elmolectual to intellectual. Bear with me.