New Release Books by Alison Gopnik

Alison Gopnik is the author of The Gardener and the Carpenter (2017), The Philosophical Baby (2011), Words, Thoughts, and Theories (1998), How Babies Think (2001) and , The Scientist in the Crib (2001).

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The Gardener and the Carpenter

release date: Aug 01, 2017
The Gardener and the Carpenter
Caring deeply about our children is part of what makes us human. Yet the thing we call "parenting" is a surprisingly new invention. In the past thirty years, the concept of parenting and the multibillion dollar industry surrounding it have transformed child care into obsessive, controlling, and goal-oriented labor intended to create a particular kind of child and therefore a particular kind of adult. In The Gardener and the Carpenter , the pioneering developmental psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik argues that the familiar twenty-first-century picture of parents and children is profoundly wrong-it''s not just based on bad science, it''s bad for kids and parents, too.Drawing on the study of human evolution and her own cutting-edge scientific research into how children learn, Gopnik shows that although caring for children is profoundly important, it is not a matter of shaping them to turn out a particular way. Children are designed to be messy and unpredictable, playful and imaginative, and to be very different both from their parents and from each other. The variability and flexibility of childhood lets them innovate, create, and survive in an unpredictable world. "Parenting" won''t make children learn-but caring parents let children learn by creating a secure, loving environment. - Excerpted and widely shared and discussed in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal - For readers of Julie Lythcott-Haims

The Philosophical Baby

release date: Jun 08, 2011
The Philosophical Baby
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 cleverer, 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.

Words, Thoughts, and Theories

release date: Sep 01, 1998
Words, Thoughts, and Theories
Words, Thoughts, and Theories articulates and defends the "theory theory" of cognitive and semantic development, the idea that infants and young children, like scientists, learn about the world by forming and revising theories, a view of the origins of knowledge and meaning that has broad implications for cognitive science. Gopnik and Meltzoff interweave philosophical arguments and empirical data from their own and other''s research. Both the philosophy and the psychology, the arguments and the data, address the same fundamental epistemological question: How do we come to understand the world around us? Recently, the theory theory has led to much interesting research. However, this is the first book to look at the theory in extensive detail and to systematically contrast it with other theories. It is also the first to apply the theory to infancy and early childhood, to use the theory to provide a framework for understanding semantic development, and to demonstrate that language acquisition influences theory change in children.The authors show that children just beginning to talk are engaged in profound restructurings of several domains of knowledge. These restructurings are similar to theory changes in science, and they influence children''s early semantic development, since children''s cognitive concerns shape and motivate their use of very early words. But, in addition, children pay attention to the language they hear around them and this too reshapes their cognition, and causes them to reorganize their theories.

How Babies Think

release date: Jan 01, 2001
How Babies Think
Learning begins in the first days of life. Scientists are now discovering how young children develop emotionally and intellectually, and are beginning to realize that from birth babies already know a staggering amount about the world around them. In the first book of its kind for a popular audience, three leading US scientists draw on twenty-five years of research in philosophy, psychology, computer science, linguistics and neuroscience to reveal what babies know and how they learn it.

The Scientist in the Crib

release date: Jan 01, 2001
The Scientist in the Crib
A review of research on learning and infancy, drawn from hundreds of case studies, shows how children by the age of three are virtual learning machines and discusses how parents can help this learning process.
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