In the childhood of every human being and at the dawn of human history there is an amazing and, until now, unexplained leap from simple genetically programmed behavior to language, symbolic thinking, and culture. In The First Idea, Stanley Greenspan and Stuart Shanker explore this missing link and offer brilliant new insights into two longstanding questions: how human beings first create symbols and how these abilities evolved and were transmitted across generations over millions of years. From fascinating research into the intelligence of both human infants and apes, they identify certain cultural practices that are vitally important if we are to have stable and reflective future societies.
About the Authors:
Stanley I. Greenspan , M.D., author of the widely used and praised books The Challenging Child and (with Serena Wieder, Ph.D.) Engaging Autism, is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at George Washington University Medical School and lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Stuart G. Shanker, D.Phil., is Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Psychology at York University, in Toronto. At the forefront of research into ape and child language, his acclaimed books include Apes, Language and the Human Mind (with Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Talbot Taylor) and Wittgenstein's Remarks on the Foundations of AI. Dr. Shanker's critiques of genetic determinist theories of human development have been the subject of television specials, including "The Today Show," "Discovery," and "The Pamela Wallin Show."