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The Blind Storyteller - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Blind Storyteller

Iris Berent


Do newborns think? Do they know that 3 is greater than 2? Do they prefer right to wrong? What about emotions? Do newborns recognize happiness or anger? If they do, then how are our inborn thoughts and feelings encoded in our bodies? Could they persist after we die? Going all the way back to ancient Greece, human nature and the mind–body link are the topics of age-old scholarly debates. But laypeople also have strong opinions about such matters. Most people believe, for example, that newborn babies don’t know the difference between right and wrong—such knowledge, they insist, can only be learne ... More

Keywords: innateness, Dualism, Essentialism, experimental philosophy, mind–body, embodiment, emotions, mental disorders, free will, afterlife

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780190061920
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190061920.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Iris Berent, author
Professor of Psychology, Northeastern University

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Part I What We Know

A. Who’s Afraid of Innate Ideas?

B. The Rich Mental Lives of Infants

: C. Our Blindness to Innate Ideas

B. Thoughts and Feelings

: C. In Health and Disease

: D. While We’re Here and Once We’re No More

Part III Coda

End Matter