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Howard Gardner Under Fire cover

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ISBN 0-8126-9604-2

$42.95   paper

448 pages

(Fall 2006)

Howard Gardner Under Fire

The Rebel Psychologist Faces His Critics

Edited by Jeffrey A. Schaler

Howard Gardner, a name to conjure with among today’s public intellectuals, is most celebrated for his conception and development of the theory of Multiple Intelligences, which has revolutionized educational thinking. Gardner has also made outstanding original contributions to the study of leadership, creativity, child development, and humanly fulfilling work.

Prior to Gardner’s Frames of Mind (1983), there was little sustained theoretical opposition to the reigning paradigm of IQ, in which it is supposed that intelligence is a single concept known as ‘g’, exhibiting itself in scholastic attainment and detectable by a narrow range of puzzle-solving tests. Gardner transformed the discussion of intelligence and education by making a powerful case that there are several forms of intelligence, some of which express themselves in activities not traditionally considered academic.

In Creating Minds (1993), Gardner provoked a Gestalt switch in public understanding of creative genius, by analyzing the lives and achievements of seven diverse personalities from Einstein to Picasso, each of whom founded a new “system of meaning.” With Project Zero, Gardner directed research into children’s artistic development, yielding many controversial conclusions and providing new ideas for educators. Gardner’s GoodWork Project is a broad empirical investigation of the experiences of professional workers in a range of occupations, seeking the conditions most conducive to work which is “good” both ethically and technically. His Changing Minds (2004) applied findings from cognitive psychology to explain how people’s deep-rooted convictions can be changed.

All these and other topics are explored in this volume, by way of a debate between Gardner and his critics.

“A lively and thoughtful presentation of Howard Gardner’s ideas along with well considered criticisms of them by leading scholars.”

—Jerome Bruner, author of Acts of Meaning

“Howard Gardner’s work is astonishingly diverse, imaginative, occasionally improbable, always engaging—the kind that calls for conversations deep into the night over good brandy. Howard Gardner Under Fire is the next best thing, showing from many perspectives how rich a dialogue he has provoked.”

—Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life

“This examination of Gardner’s wide-ranging and influential ideas provides a dazzling intellectual banquet.”

—Mindy Kornhaber, co-author of Multiple Intelligences: Best Ideas from Research and Practice

“Gardner is a force in psychology and education who deserves the full attention of both admirers and critics. I’m an admirer who believes that the concept of multiple intelligences serves as a heuristic scientific hypothesis, which moreover is in accord with contemporary brain science and genetics.”

—Edward O. Wilson, author of On Human Nature

Howard Gardner Under Fire offers a ringside seat at a lively—and surprisingly constructive—dialogue between one of today's leading minds and several thoughtful critics. Beyond the engrossing give-and-take, this volume represents the best overview anywhere of Gardner's intellectual works, the remarkable trajectory of a genuinely creative mind dedicated to good work.”

—Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence

Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler (www.schaler.net) is a psychologist, psychotherapist, teacher, and writer. He wrote Addiction Is a Choice (2000), which became the centerpiece of a controversial John Stossel TV documentary. Dr. Schaler teaches in the Department of Justice, Law, and Society at American University’s School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. He is Executive Editor of Current Psychology: Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social. His edited volumes include Peter Singer Under Fire (2007), Szasz Under Fire (2004), Drugs: Should We Legalize, Decriminalize, or Deregulate? (1998), and Smoking: Who Has the Right? (with Magda E. Schaler, 1998).

Author website: www.schaler.net

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