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Words, Thoughts, and Theories cover
  • ISBN: 9780262071758
  • ISBN10: 0262071754

Words, Thoughts, and Theories

by Gopnik, Alison M.

  • List Price: $45.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publish date: 12/01/1996
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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? 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. 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.
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