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The Philosophical Baby

by Alison Gopnik
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ITEM #: 4101002

In the last decade there has been a revolution in our understanding of the minds of infants and young children. We used to believe that babies were irrational, and that their thinking and experience were limited. Now Alison Gopnik a leading psychologist and philosopher, as well as a mother explains the cutting-edge scientific and psychological research that has revealed 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 more conscious than adults. In a lively and accessible tour of the groundbreaking new psychological, neuroscientific, and philosophical developments, Gopnik offers new insight into how babies see the world, and in turn promotes a deeper appreciation for the role of parents in shaping the lives of their children.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Possible Worlds: Why Do Children Pretend?
    • The Power of Counterfactuals
    • Counterfactuals in Children: Planning the Future
    • Reconstructing the Past
    • Imagining the Possible
    • Imagination and Causation
    • Children and Causation
    • Causes and Possibilities
    • Maps and Blueprints
    • Casual Maps
    • Detecting Blickets
  • 2. Imaginary Companions: How Does Fiction Tell the Truth?
    • Dunzer and Charlie Ravioli
    • Normal Weirdness
    • Making a Map of the Mind
    • Imaginary Companions and Psychological Knowledge
    • Autism, Causation, and Imagination
    • Maps and Fictions
    • Why Minds and Things are Different
    • Soul Engineers
    • The Work of Play
  • 3. Escaping Plato's Cave: How Children, Scientists, and Computers Discover the Truth
    • Observation: Baby Statistics
    • Experimentation: Making Things Happen
    • Demonstration: Watching Mom's Experiments
    • Understanding Minds
  • 4. What Is It Like to Be a Baby? Consciousness and Attention
    • External Attention
    • Internal Attention
    • Baby Attention
    • Young Children and Attention
    • What Is It Like to Be a Baby?
    • Travel and Meditation
  • 5. Who Am I? Memory, Self, and the Babbling Stream
    • Consciousness and Memory
    • Children and Memory
    • Knowing How You Know
    • Constructing Myself
    • Children and the Future
    • The Stream of Consciousness
    • Living in the Moment
    • Internal Consciousness, Free Association, Hypnagogic Thought, and Insight Meditation
    • Why Does Consciousness Change?
    • A Map of Myself: Constructing Consciousness
  • 6. Heraclitus' River and the Romanian Orphans: How Does Our Early Life Shape Our Later Life?
    • Life Cycles
    • The Paradox of Inheritance
    • How Babies Raise Their Parents
  • 7. Learning to Love: Attachment and Identity
    • Theories of Love
    • Beyond Mothers: Social Monogamy and Allomothering
    • Life's Weather
    • The Child Inside
  • 8. Love and Law: The Origins of Morality
    • Imitation and Empathy
    • Anger and Vengeance
    • Beyond Empathy
    • Psychopaths
    • Trolleyology
    • Not Life Me
    • Widening the Circle
    • Following the Rules
    • Baby Rules
    • Doing It on Purpose
    • Rules as Causes
    • The Perils of Rules
    • The Wisdom of Huck Finn
  • 9. Babies and the Meaning of Life
    • Awe
    • Magic
    • Love
    • Conclusion

ISBN: 978-0-312429-84-3