The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds tell us about Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life

Alison Gopnik

The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds tell us about Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life

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 cleverer, more thoughtful, and even more conscious than adults. 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. 4.2 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds tell us about Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Psychology & Psychiatry, Family & Lifestyle
Format Hardback
Pages 304
RRP £14.99
Date of Publication August 2009
ISBN 978-1847921079
Publisher Bodley Head
 

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 cleverer, more thoughtful, and even more conscious than adults. 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.

Reviews

The Guardian

Josh Lacey

She uses a clear and very readable prose, squarely aimed at the general reader and sensibly divided into short sections, ideal for anyone burdened by babies or toddlers. Her pages are packed with provocative observations and cunning insights. I'd highly recommend this fascinating book to any parent of a young child - and, indeed, anyone who has ever been a baby.

08/08/2009

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The Daily Mail

Sam Leith

Her book is at its best and most interesting when talking about hard science (well, soft science, arguably) but modulates sure-footedly enough into the philosophical implications when the occasion demands it... It sometimes moves in a disconcertingly glib way between experimental science, more or less formal philosophy and homespun sentimentality. But I can forgive her that. The Philosophical Baby has interesting things to tell us. They are clearly expressed and thought-provoking. And they do their work on the reader.

06/08/2009

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The New York Times

Anthony Gottlieb

...her 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... Gopnik’s exposition of philosophical problems is sometimes sketchy, and in the absence of more solid examples of missed great ideas than she provides here, I am not convinced that the history of philosophy would have found more useful inspiration from the study of children if only its luminaries had included Mrs. Plato, Emmanuelle Kant, Renata Descartes and Joan Locke.

06/08/2009

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The Observer

Salley Vickers

This book is to be welcomed and I hope it may correct the influence of books, such as Gina Ford's child-rearing manuals, that seek to accelerate the inescapable process of inhibition by advancing the cause of adult control. That said, its chatty style is slightly wearisome, distracting from the beauty and gravity of its important conclusions.

09/08/2009

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The Financial Times

Charles Fernyhough

Gopnik is at her most persuasive when she turns her attention to the nature of infant consciousness... The Philosophical Baby is on shakier ground when it tries to bear the weight of concepts such as love and morality... 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, even if it doesn’t answer them.

27/07/2009

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