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born 1955

Dr. Alison Gopnik started her academic career as a philosophy student but turned to developmental psychology when she realized she wanted to focus on answering life's big questions rather than just asking them. 

For more than 30 years, Alison's empirical research has been filling in the gaps about how children learn and experience the world. Her findings ~ popularized through a best-selling book and multiple talk show appearances ~ ask us to consider babies in a new light as "completely determined, disinterested, seekers of truth" who are actually the most philosophical among us.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Alison Gopnik (16)

"Hanging out with children and watching them and observing them on a regular basis is like reading poetry. It’s a way of kind of cleansing the doors of perception. It’s a way of getting yourself, at least temporarily, back into that state where everything’s up for grabs, and everything’s new, and nothing is taken for granted."

A Conversation with Alison Gopnik | october 2004

"Children are the R&D department of the human species—the blue-sky guys, the brainstormers. Adults are production and marketing."

The Philosophical Baby | 2009

"The greatest evolutionary advantage of human beings is their ability to escape from the constraints of evolution."

The Philosophical Baby | 2009

"I am a creation of the human imagination, and so are you."

The Philosophical Baby | 2009

"All the processes of change, imagination, and learning ultimately depend on love."

The Philosophical Baby | 2009

"Even the most mundane facts of three-year-old life—the extravagant pretend play, the insatiable curiosity that makes them get into just about everything, and the intuitive sympathy for others—tell us what it means to be human."

The Philosophical Baby | 2009

"We know what makes babies smart and happy and thrive. It's having human beings who are dedicated to caring for them—human beings who are well-supported, not stressed out and not poor."

'Philosophical Baby' author's thoughts on kids | august 2009

"Well-paid and unstressed teachers who pay attention to children's interests and help them play are the most important thing of all."

A Conversation with Dr. Alison Gopnik | august 2009

"Children need more exposure to mud, livestock, and relatives."

A Conversation with Dr. Alison Gopnik | august 2009

"What's it like to be a baby? It's like being in love in Paris for the first time after you've had three double espressos."

What do babies think? | july 2011

"We don't actually need to make our babies and young children smarter; they're already literally the smartest, greatest learning machines that we know of in the entire universe. What we need to do is give them situations and contexts in which they can take all those capacities and actually put them to use."

The Power of Possibility | may 2012

"Children are designed to learn."

The Power of Possibility | may 2012

"The birds and the bees may be enough for the birds and the bees, but for us it's just the beginning. Culture is our nature; the evolution of culture was one secret of our biological success."

Culture Begets Marriage - Gay or Straight | april 2013

"To parents, there is no force known to science as powerful as the repulsion between children and vegetables."

To Get Children to Eat Veggies, Add Science | july 2013

"Yogi Berra is credited, often apocryphally, for every funny saying about about baseball, same for Fodor in philosophy."

@AlisonGopnik | july 2013

"The largest and most powerful computers are still no match for the smallest and weakest minds."

World Economic Forum | january 2015
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson {august 2014}