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By Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Maurice Merleau-Ponty is likely one of the few significant phenomenologists to interact widely with empirical learn within the sciences, and the single one to check baby psychology with rigor and in such intensity. His writings have lately develop into more and more influential, because the findings of psychology and cognitive technology tell and are educated through phenomenological inquiry.


Merleau-Ponty’s Sorbonne lectures of 1949 to 1952 are a huge research into baby psychology, psychoanalysis, pedagogy, phenomenology, sociology, and anthropology. They argue that the topic of kid psychology is important for any philosophical try to comprehend person and intersubjective lifestyles. Talia Welsh’s new translation presents Merleau-Ponty’s whole lectures at the seminal engagement of phenomenology and psychology.

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In so doing, the child learns to distinguish 26 CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND PEDAGOGY other from self. 37 The principal idea is that accommodation allows for real imitation. When we partially imitate the other's behavior, we are obliged, by a kind of induction, to take the total corresponding attitude to that behavior. ) When one adopts an aspect of the other's behavior, the totality of consciousness takes on the "style" of the imitated person. In other words, true imitation carries on beyond the limited consciousness and becomes global: once it has been accommodated, imitation surpasses itself.

B. The Problem of Imitation According to Guillaume In his theory of imitation, Guillaume surpasses the classical conception. 35 He begins with a decisive remark: before we make a movement, we do not represent it to ourselves, we do not envision the muscular contractions necessary to make it happen (the preliminary representation of movement in order to effectuate it is a pathological symptom in certain cases of paresis, for example). Rather, there is an attraction that the object exercises, through the goal that we have fixed for ourselves.

The phonemic system is a style of language. The style is not defined by words, nor by ideas; it does not possess direct signification, but an oblique signification. It permits the characterization of the phonemic system of language, just as a writer is characterized. ] The Phenomenon of Imitation After the acquisition of the phonemic system and the first words, the child develops his language through imitation. We will study the problem of imitation in general before applying it to language acquisition.

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