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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 54, Issue 4, December 2014

Lawrence J. Hatab
Pages 379-391

Dasein, The Early Years
Heideggerian Reflections on Childhood

Like most philosophers, Heidegger gave little attention to childhood, but his philosophical emphasis on pre-reflective practice and understanding seems uniquely qualified to help make sense of a child’s experience and development. Moreover, it seems to me that many central Heideggerian concepts are best defended, exemplified, and articulated by bringing child development into the discussion. A Heideggerain emphasis on pre-theoretical world-involvement opens up a rich array of phenomena for studying child development, which can improve upon standard theories that have over-emphasized exclusive conditions or criteria. I begin by laying out some basic features of Heidegger’s conception of being-in-the-world as a preparation for understanding the world of the child. Then I will briefly discuss some of Heidegger’s remarks on childhood, followed by some reflections on language acquisition and the correlation of anxiety and meaning.

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