Re: "Letter on Humanism"--Reading 3 (Re: infancy)

Tony writes:

>I believe (I heard this somewhere--perhaps
>someone out there could help me) that words are NOT tools for children,
>but elements within a matrix of play. They are funny sounds, that do name
>things, but the child's interest in words is not because of their
>function at first. The utility of language is secondary.

I find this subject anguishing. There *is* material which addresses this
issue, and almost nobody seems to know of it or use it. Donald Winnicott's
writings are a good place to start (why is Piaget so well known and
Winnicott, who addressed the affective life of the child and not just the
child's ability to measure liquids in different shaped containers, not known
at all? Proposed answer: because our society, like the inventor of "language
games", is autistic). Also: Ernest Schachtel's "Metamorphosis".

The reader may note that these authors belong to the questionable discipline
of psychoanalysis. I personally feel that a lot of psychoanalysis is, from
the perspective of transcendental philosophy (not to mention simple
humanity), "pretty bad". But not all of it. Heidegger (and even Husserl and
Schutz et al) didn't (at least to my knowledge) devote much attention to
either children or distortions of communicative life (a k a "neurosis" etc.).
There is much to be learned from both, and some persons in the perhaps
demented world of psychoanalysis have seen things in these areas remarkably
sanely (often at the cost of their own sanity or worse, e.g., Ferenczi, who
wrote such radical things as: "The Unwanted Childand His Death Instinct", and
"The Family's Adaptation to the Child").

Tony and all philosophy teachers and other teachers in the
Geisteswissenschaften out there: Learn this stuff!

And now
I will get down
from my soapbox....
Brad McCormick (prophet without a country?)

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