Volume 54, Issue 4, December 2014
Lawrence J. Hatab
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.