The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life

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By Alison Gopnik

In the last decade there has been a revolution in our understanding of the minds of infants and young children. We used to believe that babies were irrational, and that their thinking and experience were limited. Now Alison Gopnik ― a leading psychologist and philosopher, as well as a mother ― explains the cutting-edge scientific and psychological research that has revealed that babies learn more, create more, care more, and experience more than we could ever have imagined.

And there is good reason to believe that babies are actually smarter, more thoughtful, and more conscious than adults. In a lively and accessible tour of the groundbreaking new psychological, neuroscientific, and philosophical developments, Gopnik offers new insight into how babies see the world, and in turn promotes a deeper appreciation for the role of parents in shaping the lives of their children.

Gopnik makes a good, and sometimes impassioned, case . . . [She] offers the captivating idea that children are more conscious than adults but also less unconscious, because they have fewer automatic behaviors . . . The Philosophical Baby is both a scientific and romantic book, a result of Gopnik's charming willingness to imagine herself inside the consciousness of young children.
Michael Greenberg, The New York Review of Books
Gopnik's description of what psychological research reveals about babies' surprisingly sophisticated thinking is fascinating.
Drew DeSilver, The Seattle Times
[Gopnik's] account of what the science of recent decades has had to say about infants' minds tells a fascinating story of how we become the grown-ups that we are.
The New York Times
Gopnik incisively and compassionately highlights the extraordinary range of mental capabilities of even the youngest child. What makes Gopnik's book stand out from the myriad recent books on consciousness is her overarching insight into the sophisticated ways that even infants think and scheme.
Robert Burton, Salon

About the Author

Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her BA from McGill University and her PhD. from Oxford University. Her honors include a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada University Research Fellowship, an Osher Visiting Scientist Fellowship at the Exploratorium, a Center for the Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences Fellowship, and a Moore Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, and a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children's learning and development and was the first to argue that children's minds could help us understand deep philosophical questions. She was one of the founders of the study of "theory of mind", illuminating how children come to understand the minds of others, and she formulated the "theory theory", the idea that children learn in the same way that scientists do.

She is the author of over 100 articles and several books including "Words, thoughts and theories" (coauthored with Andrew Meltzoff), MIT Press, 1997, "The Scientist in the Crib" (coauthored with Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl) William Morrow, 1999, and "The Philosophical Baby; What children's minds tell us about love, truth and the meaning of life" Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009. "The Scientist in the Crib" was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, was translated into 20 languages and was enthusiastically reviewed in Science, The New Yorker, the Washington Post and The New York Review of Books (among others).

She has three sons and lives in Berkeley, California. For more see www.alisongopnik.com.

Publisher: Picador
Pages: 304 pages
Size: 21x14x2 cm
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780312429843
Publication date: Reprint edition (2010/07)

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