The philosophical baby : what children's minds tell us about truth, love, and the meaning of life

by Alison Gopnik

Hardcover, 2009




New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.


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. 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.

Media reviews

In her new book, "The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life," Gopnik incisively and compassionately highlights the extraordinary range of mental capabilities of even the youngest child. (short review plus an interview.)

User reviews

LibraryThing member snash
I found this an extremely interesting and enlightening book. Theories of development, neuroscience, genetics, psychology, evolution, ethics, and philosophy were all there. The book presented, in understandable terms, the latest studies on how the minds of children 6 and younger work. Those observations are then used to draw conclusions in the various realms listed above. Although some of those theories were presented more emphatically than seems appropriate and I may not agree with every conclusion, the journey and the thought the book provoked were fascinating.… (more)
LibraryThing member bostonian71
Enlightening, thought-provoking and often amusing. In someone else’s hands, all the concepts covered in this book could have been turned into pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo. Gopnik, however, is an engaging thinker and writer who a) knows her stuff and b) can explain it to laypeople in a way that’s clear without being dumbed-down. Even if small children aren’t aware that they’re constantly developing, testing and revising their theories about how the world works (and imagining how it coulda shoulda woulda been different had things gone this way instead of that way), they -- and we -- certainly do it all the time.… (more)
LibraryThing member Mithril
Quite enlightening.
LibraryThing member Salsabrarian
As this book points out, babies are not merely adorable little lumps. They're learning, observing and absorbing, on their way to the adults they'll become. She cites research but the book is written for the layman, so it's pretty readable although it can get dense here and there. Definitely a read for anyone who cares about children or has an interest in child development.… (more)



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