Descartes' Baby by Paul Bloom
How The Science Of Child Development Explains What Makes Us Human

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"If you really want to understand human nature, you must observe people as they are before they are corrupted by language and culture, by MTV and Hebrew school. You must look at babies." So contends psychologist Paul Bloom-whom Steven Pinker calls "the wunderkind of cognitive science"-in this fascinating account of how we learn to make sense of reality. All humans see the world in two fundamentally different ways: Even babies have a rich understanding of both the physical and social worlds. They expect objects to obey principles of physics, and they're startled when things disappear or defy gravity. Yet they can also read emotions and respond with anger, sympathy, and joy.In Descartes' Baby, Bloom draws on a wealth of scientific discoveries to show how these two ways of knowing give rise to such uniquely human traits as humor, disgust, religion, art, and morality. The myriad ways that our dualist perspectives, born in infancy, undergo development throughout our lives and profoundly influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions is the subject of this richly rewarding book.

About Paul Bloom

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Paul Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. His previous books include the highly acclaimed How Pleasure Works, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, American Scholar, Slate, the Atlantic Monthly, and The Best American Science Writing. His 2011 TED Global talk on the origins of pleasure has been viewed more than one million times. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Author Residence: New Haven, CT
Published April 27, 2005 by Basic Books. 288 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy, Self Help. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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Descartes' Baby by Paul Bloom 320pp, Heinemann, £20 Cartesian duality - that the soul and the body are separate entities - is deeply rooted in western culture.

Aug 07 2004 | Read Full Review of Descartes' Baby: How The Scie...

Publishers Weekly

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Erudite cognitive scientist Bloom (How Children Learn the Meaning of Words ) deftly reconciles notions of human mental life—in art, religious belief and morality—with the latest in child development research.

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