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

ISBN: 9780312429843 | 0312429843
Edition: Reprint
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Picador
Pub. Date: 7/6/2010

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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. Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, is the author ofThe Scientist in the Crib.For most of us, having a baby is the most profound, intense, and fascinating experience of our lives. Now scientists and philosophers are starting to appreciate babies, too. The last decade has witnessed a revolution in our understanding of infants and young children. Scientists used to believe that babies were irrational, and that their thinking and experience were limited. Recently, they have discovered 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 even more conscious than adults. This new science holds answers to some of the deepest and oldest questions about what it means to be human. A new baby's captivated gaze at her mother's face lays the foundations for love and morality. A toddler's unstoppable explorations of his playpen hold the key to scientific discovery. A three-year-old's wild make-believe explains how we can imagine the future, write novels, and invent new technologies. Alison Gopnik--a leading psychologist and philosopher, as well as a mother--explains the groundbreaking new psychological, neuroscientific, and philosophical developments in our understanding of very young children, transforming our understanding of how babies see the world, and in turn promoting a deeper appreciation for the role of parents. "[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'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 is at her most persuasive when she turns her attention to the nature of infant consciousness . . . As a guide to the field of cognitive development, there can be few people better qualified than Gopnik. This eminent developmental scientist writes with wit, erudition and an admirable aversion to jargon, and her book provides an intriguing perspective on some philosophical questions."--Charles Fernyhough,Financial Times "I've often wondered, peering into those wide, unblinking eyes, just what it's like to be a baby. Now, thanks to Alison Gopnik's fascinating new book,The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life, I have a pretty good idea . . . [Gopnik] likens a baby's attention to a lantern, casting its light in all directions, illumin


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