Jerome Bruner is University Professor at New York University. His newest book, Making Stories, appeared in the spring. (September 2003)

Do Not Pass Go

David Garland’s disturbing new book addresses the question why there are so many more people in jail in America and Britain than anywhere else. That, in any case, is its specific focus. Its broader concern is with “cultures of control,” how societies treat deviance and violence and whom they single …

Tot Thought

Why are adults half-blind to the ways of the child’s mind? Equally puzzling, why are they so gullible about fashionable dogmas on that oddly vexed subject? Years ago I was stunned to hear Anna Freud declare in a lecture at Harvard that if a three-year-old wandered unrestrained from Central Square …

The Artist as Analyst

Erik Erikson must surely be the most distinguished living psychoanalyst. His early work in child therapy, his ventures into psychoanalytic anthropology, his rendering of the “identity crisis” and of the “stages” in the human life cycle, all these established him as a brilliant, though aberrant, psychoanalytic theorist, aberrant particularly in …

Under Construction

A little over half a century ago philosophers and psychologists at Harvard shared a single department housed in Emerson Hall, its ground-floor corridor presided over by a seated, slightly frowning Ralph Waldo Emerson in bronze. The psychologists by then could scarcely wait to be free of their old-fashioned colleagues. That …

Hole in the World

Neurologists lead philosophically confounded professional lives—by necessity rather than choice. No other profession is so implacably condemned to dwell in that restless and prismatic space that lies between body and mind. If to the philosopher the mind–body problem is a playground for fancy analytic footwork, for the neurologist, it is …

State of the Child

A half-century ago psychologists and philosophers could still innocently make generalizations not only about the universal character of mind but about the “natural” way in which mind grows from infancy to such perfections as it may attain in adulthood. The proclivity to do so, it seems, proved extraordinarily robust even …

Where Does Language Come From?

Rarely does the question of the origins of human language provoke serious attention from linguists. It is not that the subject is a trivial one, or that it lacks a history of speculative debate. But discussions of how language originated tend to pass over the very features of human language …

Reading for Signs of Life

If this astonishing book is correct, then it must surely bear the most extraordinary news about the nature of the mind to have come our way in decades. For it concludes that children can read unconsciously with little difficulty. Troubles arise only when they must do so consciously. And the …