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date: 10 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

When reflecting on the nature of thought, it is helpful to consider how thinking develops. Here I consider how in typical development, creative flexible thinking emerges over the first two years of a child’s life. Thinking develops through, and is grounded in, affective communication between the child and other expressive, embodied persons who relate to a shared world. In order to come to think symbolically (in a full sense), a human being needs to share and coordinate experiences of the world on a non-inferential, affective basis, drawing on biologically based capacities to identify with the attitudes of others. Individuals with autism and/or congenital blindness illustrate the implications for the development of thinking when a child’s experience of self-other-world relations are compromised in these respects.

Keywords: thinking, feeling, infant development, autism, intersubjectivity, identification, blindness

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