Professor of Philosophy
Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She is known for her work in the areas of cognitive and language development, specializing in the effect of language on thought, the development of a theory of mind, and causal learning.
Alison has an incredible childhood reading environment that she shared with her other siblings. By the time she was 16 years old, she had read a bunch of Jane Austen, Charles Dickinson, Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare and other great authors in literature.
Her latest book is The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children (2017). A strong scientific case for letting children guide their own learning.
BOOKS FEATURED IN THE SHOW
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Alison started reading at two and a half years old. This book was one of the first books she read.
It’s one of the books that captures what it’s like to be a child in terms of the strangeness, (the beauty of it) and the scariness (the alienation). She very much identified with Alice, the curious girl. She also finds it a philosophical book, like the idea of taking the idea and following it wherever it leads.
P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins
She read it at 3 or 4 years old. It's one of the books that was read together in the family. Sens of illusion is the key. If you're tuned into this, children books are fun.
C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
One thing that children are the worst for is abandonment. This book gives a kind of practice for children growing up to be an adult, the idea of being alone in the world. She thinks Nania very well captures the idea of children going in adventure on their own.
The three books above help prepare children to take adventure on their own and prepare themselves for adulthood.