The Developing Mind: A Philosophical Introduction, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Developing Mind

A Philosophical Introduction, 1st Edition

By Stephen Butterfill


240 pages

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Paperback: 9780415566230
pub: 2020-03-01
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 1st March 2020
Hardback: 9780415566223
pub: 2020-03-01
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 1st March 2020

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The development of children’s minds raises fundamental psychological and scientific questions, from how we are able to know about and describe basic aspects of the world such as words, numbers and colours to how we come to grasp causes, actions and intentions. This is the first book to properly introduce and examine philosophical questions concerning children’s cognitive development and considers the implications of scientific breakthroughs for the philosophy of developmental psychology.

Each chapter explores a central topic in developmental psychology from a philosophical perspective:

  • social interaction and the developing mind
  • children's awareness of objects and the question of 'object permanence'
  • knowledge of numbers
  • children and the acquisition of knowledge of colour
  • language acquisition and the 'mapping problem'
  • children's knowledge of the relation between actions and goals
  • belief acquisition and the developing mind.

Throughout the book Stephen Butterfill draws on several important case studies, including experiments with children on memory, ‘false belief tasks’, and the process by which children come to see other people, not just themselves, as capable of experience. He shows how these questions can illuminate some fundamental debates in philosophy of mind, such as the mind’s possession of concepts, rationality and the mind, the possibility of objective thought, and the nature of perceptual experience.

Additional features, such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary provide helpful tools for those coming to the subject for the first time.


"It is fantastically difficult to cross the boundary between philosophy and psychology without getting embarrassingly stuck on the fence. Butterfill’s book demonstrates why the risk is more than balanced by the potential benefits for both sides. It will be an invaluable textbook, and should be read by anyone interested in the tight relationship between cutting-edge theory and evidence in developmental psychology and philosophy of mind." - Ian Apperly, University of Birmingham, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Social Interaction without Words 2. Objects and how they Interact 3. Numbers 4. Seeing and talking about colours 5. Words and other Communicative tools 6. Actions: Teleology and Motor Awareness 7. Beliefs Conclusion. Index

About the Author

Stephen Butterfill is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, UK

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: