The Child as Natural Phenomenologist

Cloth Text – $89.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2881-1

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2880-4
Publication Date
March 2013
Page Count
194 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

The Child as Natural Phenomenologist

Primal and Primary Experience in Merleau-Ponty's Psychology
Talia Welsh

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961) is well known for his work in phenomenology, but his lectures in child psychology and pedagogy have received little attention, probably because Talia Welsh translated the lectures in their entirety only in 2010. The Child as Natural Phenomenologist summarizes Merleau-Ponty’s work in child psychology, shows its relationship to his philosophical work, and argues for its continued relevance in contemporary theory and practice.

Welsh demonstrates Merleau-Ponty’s unique conception of the child’s development as inherently organized, meaningful, and engaged with the world, contrary to views that see the child as largely internally preoccupied and driven by instinctual demands. Welsh finds that Merleau-Ponty’s ideas about human psychology remain relevant in today’s growing field of child studies and that they provide important insights for philosophers, sociologists, and psychologists to better understand the human condition.

About the Author

Talia Welsh is a University of Chattanooga Foundation associate professor of philosophy at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


"This book is an informative, valuable and thought-provoking contribution to the Merleau-Ponty’s interdisciplinary work on child psychology. Scholarly and comprehensive…this present volume deserves to be welcomed and studied carefully by students and scholars in embodiment theory, Gestalt psychology, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and by anyone interested in the philosophical relevance of early childhood for the constitution of an individual’s subjectivity." —Horizon