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About Alison Gopnik
Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her BA from McGill University and her PhD. from Oxford University. Her honors include a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada University Research Fellowship, an Osher Visiting Scientist Fellowship at the Exploratorium, a Center for the Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences Fellowship, and a Moore Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, and a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children's learning and development and was the first to argue that children's minds could help us understand deep philosophical questions. She was one of the founders of the study of "theory of mind", illuminating how children come to understand the minds of others, and she formulated the "theory theory", the idea that children learn in the same way that scientists do.
She is the author of over 100 articles and several books including "Words, thoughts and theories" (coauthored with Andrew Meltzoff), MIT Press, 1997, "The Scientist in the Crib" (coauthored with Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl) William Morrow, 1999, and "The Philosophical Baby; What children's minds tell us about love, truth and the meaning of life" Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009. "The Scientist in the Crib" was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, was translated into 20 languages and was enthusiastically reviewed in Science, The New Yorker, the Washington Post and The New York Review of Books (among others). She has also written for Science, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, New Scientist, and Slate.
She has spoken extensively on children's minds including speeches to political organizations such as the World Economic Forum and the Organization for Economic Development, children's advocacy organizations including Parents as Teachers and Zero to Three, museums including The Exploratorium, The Chicago Children's Museum, and the Bay Area Discovery Museum, and science organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The American Psychological Association, the Association of Psychological Science, and the American Philosophical Association. She has also appeared on many TV and radio programs. She has three sons and lives in Berkeley, California. For more see www.alisongopnik.com.
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Titles By Alison Gopnik
In The Gardener and the Carpenter, Alison Gopnik, one of the world's leading child psychologists, illuminates the paradoxes of parenthood from a scientific perspective and shatters the myth of "good parenting".
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.
This exciting book by three pioneers in the new field of cognitive science discusses important discoveries about how much babies and young children know and learn, and how much parents naturally teach them.It argues that evolution designed us both to teach and learn, and that the drive to learn is our most important instinct. It also reveals as fascinating insights about our adult capacities and how even young children -- as well as adults -- use some of the same methods that allow scientists to learn so much about the world. Filled with surprise at every turn, this vivid, lucid, and often funny book gives us a new view of the inner life of children and the mysteries of the mind.
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.
En contra de los modelos actuales de crianza, ser padres no es una labor de carpintería, no es un trabajo que tenga como objetivo «tallar» a un niño para convertirlo en un modelo particular de adulto. Por el contrario, ser padres es como cuidar un jardín. La labor de los padres es la de procurar un medio fértil, estable y seguro que permita prosperar a muchas variedades de flores. Crear un ecosistema vigoroso y flexible que facilite que los propios niños desarrollen muchos, variados e impredecibles tipos de adultos futuros. Se trata también de favorecer una relación humana específica, un amor comprometido e incondicional, entre un progenitor concreto y un hijo concreto.
Un bambino in età prescolare fa in media 75 domande all’ora. È un vulcano di curiosità, di tentativi ed errori, di invenzione di mondi alternativi, di «facciamo finta che» e di mille cose ancora. E ogni bambino lo è in modo diverso e peculiare, un modo tutto suo. A fronte di questa esuberante diversità, propria di tutti i bambini, la nostra società ha sempre di più prodotto una pletora di rigide «ricette» per educare nel modo «giusto» i nostri figli, proponendo «metodi» infallibili per farne adulti di «successo». La sezione in lingua inglese di Amazon, sotto l’etichetta «Genitori», contiene qualcosa come 60.000 titoli, e quella italiana, coi suoi circa 35.000 libri, non è certo da meno. In inglese la tendenza è resa particolarmente evidente dall’uso del tutto recente del verbo to parent, derivato dal sostantivo parent, genitore: qualcosa che suona come «genitorare», cioè un’azione, come fosse un mestiere, appunto.
Ma essere genitori non è un mestiere, sostiene in questo libro con forza Alison Gopnik. Prendersi cura dei bambini è naturalmente importantissimo, ma non dovrebbe essere inteso come un compito il cui scopo sia quello di produrre un particolare tipo di individuo; piuttosto, significa lasciare che quei piccoli esseri confusionari, imprevedibili e tanto diversi dai genitori siano liberi di svilupparsi secondo le loro caratteristiche. È la differenza che c’è tra un falegname e un giardiniere, sostiene Gopnik, in una felice metafora continuamente richiamata nelle pagine di questo magnifico libro. Un falegname è mosso da uno scopo, assembla il legno, lo taglia e lo modella in modo da raggiungere la forma necessaria a soddisfare una funzione precisa. Il suo è a tutti gli effetti un «mestiere». Un giardiniere invece si confronta con la natura propria delle piante con cui si relaziona; il suo compito è quello di creare attorno a loro l’ambiente migliore perché queste si sviluppino al meglio seguendo le proprie caratteristiche.