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

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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.


About Alison Gopnik

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Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, is the author of The Scientist in the Crib.
Published August 4, 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 300 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science & Math, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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The New York Times

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Gopnik’s surprising claim about the importance of children to philosophy is not that they ask the same questions as grown-up professors (she does not in fact mention Matthews’s work), but that thinking about children can somehow provide the answers the professors are looking for.

Aug 06 2009 | Read Full Review of The Philosophical Baby: What ...

The Guardian

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The experience of having a baby is no less profound for being the most commonplace of events.

Aug 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Philosophical Baby: What ...

The Guardian

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Later chapters examine the vital role of love in successful parenting and describe the self-perpetuating cycles that babies and parents build into their own relationships: "Babies learn about the world based on what they see their parents do, and they act based on that knowledge.

Aug 08 2009 | Read Full Review of The Philosophical Baby: What ...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

In the days when Jean Piaget and Sigmund Freud dominated thinking about child development, small children were thought to be irrational, incoherent, and solipsistic in their thinking and both easily distractible and unfocused in their awareness of the world.

Jul 29 2010 | Read Full Review of The Philosophical Baby: What ...

She also discusses the invisible friends – most often found in the imaginations of children between the ages of two and six – who seem to help youngsters learn how to interpret the actions of others.

Aug 20 2009 | Read Full Review of The Philosophical Baby: What ...

First Things

“Children are unconsciously the most rational beings on earth,” says Alison Gopnik, “brilliantly drawing accurate conclusions from data, performing complex statistical analyses, and doing clever experiments.” And not only does empirical work reveal this about babies and small children, but what i...

Jul 27 2009 | Read Full Review of The Philosophical Baby: What ...

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