Frank C. Keil

Frank C. Keil is Charles C. & Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Psychology at Yale University, where he is also a member of the Cognition and Development Lab. He is the author of Developmental Psychology: The Growth of Mind and Behavior and other books.

  • Wonder

    Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science

    Frank C. Keil

    How we can all be lifelong wonderers: restoring the sense of joy in discovery we felt as children.

    From an early age, children pepper adults with questions that ask why and how: Why do balloons float? How do plants grow from seeds? Why do birds have feathers? Young children have a powerful drive to learn about their world, wanting to know not just what something is but also how it got to be the way it is and how it works. Most adults, on the other hand, have little curiosity about whys and hows; we might unlock a door, for example, or boil an egg, with no idea of what happens to make such a thing possible. How can grown-ups recapture a child's sense of wonder at the world? In this book, Frank Keil describes the cognitive dispositions that set children on their paths of discovery and explains how we can all become lifelong wonderers.

    Keil describes recent research on children's minds that reveals an extraordinary set of emerging abilities that underpin their joy of discovery—their need to learn not just the facts but the underlying causal patterns at the very heart of science. This glorious sense of wonder, however, is stifled, beginning in elementary school. Later, with little interest in causal mechanisms, and motivated by intellectual blind spots, as adults we become vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation—ready to believe things that aren't true. Of course, the polymaths among us have retained their sense of wonder, and Keil explains the habits of mind and ways of wondering that allow them—and can enable us—to experience the joy of asking why and how.

    • Hardcover $35.00
  • Explanation and Cognition

    Explanation and Cognition

    Frank C. Keil and Robert A. Wilson

    These essays draw on work in the history and philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind and language, the development of concepts in children, conceptual change in adults, and reasoning in human and artificial systems.

    Explanations seem to be a large and natural part of our cognitive lives. As Frank Keil and Robert Wilson write, "When a cognitive activity is so ubiquitous that it is expressed both in a preschooler's idle questions and in work that is the culmination of decades of scholarly effort, one has to ask whether we really have one and the same phenomenon or merely different cognitively based phenomena that are loosely, or even metaphorically, related."

    This book is unusual in its interdisciplinary approach to that ubiquitous activity. The essays address five basic questions about explanation: How do explanatory capacities develop? Are there kinds of explanation? Do explanations correspond to domains of knowledge? Why do we seek explanations, and what do they accomplish? How central are causes to explanation? The essays draw on work in the history and philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind and language, the development of concepts in children, conceptual change in adults, and reasoning in human and artificial systems. They also introduce emerging perspectives on explanation from computer science, linguistics, and anthropology.

    Contributors Woo-kyoung Ahn, William F. Brewer, Patricia W. Cheng, Clark A. Chinn, Andy Clark, Robert Cummins, Clark Glymour, Alison Gopnik, Christine Johnson, Charles W. Kalish, Frank C. Keil, Robert N. McCauley, Gregory L. Murphy, Ala Samarapungavan, Herbert A. Simon, Paul Thagard, Robert A. Wilson

    • Hardcover $50.00
  • The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS)

    The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS)

    Frank C. Keil and Robert A. Wilson

    Since the 1970s the cognitive sciences have offered multidisciplinary ways of understanding the mind and cognition. The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS) is a landmark, comprehensive reference work that represents the methodological and theoretical diversity of this changing field. At the core of the encyclopedia are 471 concise entries, from Acquisition and Adaptationism to Wundt and X-bar Theory. Each article, written by a leading researcher in the field, provides an accessible introduction to an important concept in the cognitive sciences, as well as references or further readings. Six extended essays, which collectively serve as a roadmap to the articles, provide overviews of each of six major areas of cognitive science: Philosophy; Psychology; Neurosciences; Computational Intelligence; Linguistics and Language; and Culture, Cognition, and Evolution. For both students and researchers, MITECS will be an indispensable guide to the current state of the cognitive sciences.

    • Hardcover $175.00
    • Paperback $60.00
  • Concepts, Kinds, and Cognitive Development

    Concepts, Kinds, and Cognitive Development

    Frank C. Keil

    In Concepts, Kinds, and Cognitive Development, Frank C. Keil provides a coherent account of how concepts and word meanings develop in children, adding to our understanding of the representational nature of concepts and word meanings at all ages.

    Keil argues that it is impossible to adequately understand the nature of conceptual representation without also considering the issue of learning. Weaving together issues in cognitive development, philosophy, and cognitive psychology, he reconciles numerous theories, backed by empirical evidence from nominal kinds studies, natural-kinds studies, and studies of fundamental categorical distinctions. He shows that all this evidence, when put together, leads to a better understanding of semantic and conceptual development.

    The book opens with an analysis of the problems of modeling qualitative changes in conceptual development, investigating how concepts of natural kinds, nominal kinds, and artifacts evolve.

    The studies on nominal kinds document a powerful and unambiguous developmental pattern indicating a shift from a reliance on global tabulations of characteristic features to what appears to be a small set of defining ones. The studies on natural kinds document an analogous shift toward a core theory instead of simple definition. Both sets of studies are strongly supported by cross cultural data.

    While these patterns seem to suggest that the young child organizes concepts according to characteristic features, Keil argues that there is a framework of conceptual categories and causal beliefs that enables even very young children to understand kinds at a deeper, theoretically guided, level. This account suggests a new way of understanding qualitative change and carries strong implications for how concepts are represented at any point in development.

    A Bradford Book

    • Hardcover $57.00
    • Paperback $30.00
  • The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS)

    The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS)

    Frank C. Keil and Robert A. Wilson

    A landmark, comprehensive reference work that represents the methodological and theoretical diversity of this changing field.

    This is a fully-searchable, complete text ofThe MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS) on a dual-platform CD-ROM.

    Since the 1970s the cognitive sciences have offered multidisciplinary ways of understanding the mind and cognition. The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS) is a landmark, comprehensive reference work that represents the methodological and theoretical diversity of this changing field.

    At the core of the encyclopedia are 471 concise entries, from Acquisition and Adaptationism to Wundt and X-bar Theory. Each article, written by a leading researcher in the field, provides an accessible introduction to an important concept in the cognitive sciences, as well as references or further readings. Six extended essays, which collectively serve as a roadmap to the articles, provide overviews of each of six major areas of cognitive science: Philosophy; Psychology; Neurosciences; Computational Intelligence; Linguistics and Language; and Culture, Cognition, and Evolution. For both students and researchers, MITECS will be an indispensable guide to the current state of the cognitive sciences.

    System requirements: Compatible with Windows 95, Windows NT (16MB of RAM available to Acrobat Reader; 10MB hard-disk space); Windows 3.1 and 3.11 for Workgroups (12MB hard-disk space); Macintosh and Power Macintosh (8MB of RAM available to Acrobat Reader, Apple System Software version 7.1.2 or later, and 12.5MB hard-disk space).

    • CD-ROM $19.75

Contributor

  • The Conceptual Mind

    The Conceptual Mind

    New Directions in the Study of Concepts

    Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence

    New essays by leading philosophers and cognitive scientists that present recent findings and theoretical developments in the study of concepts.

    The study of concepts has advanced dramatically in recent years, with exciting new findings and theoretical developments. Core concepts have been investigated in greater depth and new lines of inquiry have blossomed, with researchers from an ever broader range of disciplines making important contributions. In this volume, leading philosophers and cognitive scientists offer original essays that present the state-of-the-art in the study of concepts. These essays, all commissioned for this book, do not merely present the usual surveys and overviews; rather, they offer the latest work on concepts by a diverse group of theorists as well as discussions of the ideas that should guide research over the next decade. The book is an essential companion volume to the earlier Concepts: Core Readings, the definitive source for classic texts on the nature of concepts.

    The essays cover concepts as they relate to animal cognition, the brain, evolution, perception, and language, concepts across cultures, concept acquisition and conceptual change, concepts and normativity, concepts in context, and conceptual individuation. The contributors include such prominent scholars as Susan Carey, Nicola Clayton, Jerry Fodor, Douglas Medin, Joshua Tenenbaum, and Anna Wierzbicka.

    Contributors Aurore Avarguès-Weber, Eef Ameel, Megan Bang, H. Clark Barrett, Pascal Boyer, Elisabeth Camp, Susan Carey, Daniel Casasanto, Nicola S. Clayton, Dorothy L. Cheney, Vyvyan Evans, Jerry A. Fodor, Silvia Gennari, Tobias Gerstenberg, Martin Giurfa, Noah D. Goodman, J. Kiley Hamlin, James A. Hampton, Mutsumi Imai, Charles W. Kalish, Frank Keil, Jonathan Kominsky, Stephen Laurence, Gary Lupyan, Edouard Machery, Bradford Z. Mahon, Asifa Majid, Barbara C. Malt, Eric Margolis, Douglas Medin, Nancy J. Nersessian, bethany ojalehto, Anna Papafragou, Joshua M. Plotnik, Noburo Saji, Robert M. Seyfarth, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Sandra Waxman, Daniel A. Weiskopf, Anna Wierzbicka

    • Hardcover $65.00
    • Paperback $50.00