An Argument for Mind

Jerome Kagan, Author . Yale Univ. $27.50 (287p) ISBN 978-0-300-11337-2

A career in science resembles the psychological development of a person," writes Kagan, a distinguished psychology professor emeritus at Harvard. "A small number of early assumptions are preserved for a lifetime, a larger number are rejected, and, if chance is kind, some new ideas are added to the network that guides the next question." In this compelling academic memoir, Kagan draws on decades of his own and others' research in education and child development to challenge the assumption that early childhood experience determines adult disposition. Paying close attention to the role of cultural differences, Kagan critiques contemporary American values—rampant materialism, individualism, obsession with sexual pleasure and lack of interest in community life—yet optimistically forecasts an imminent change of values. As he reflects on past projects, Kagan illuminates the subtleties of social class in child development, children's moral development, the role of such categories as religion or ethnicity and the importance of identification with these categories. Perhaps most fascinating is his intricate discussion of his research on temperament. Written with masterly clarity and accessibility, Kagan's history of a young science and of his own contributions to it will inspire and enrich all those interested in educational and child psychology. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Open Ebook - 302 pages - 978-0-300-12933-5
Paperback - 287 pages - 978-0-300-12603-7
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