1st Edition

First Moments of Self-awareness in Childhood A Phenomenological Approach

By Dolph Kohnstamm Copyright 2021
    118 Pages
    by Routledge

    118 Pages
    by Routledge

    This thought-provoking volume explores the phenomenon of childhood experiences of sudden moments of self-awareness. Locating them as meaningful developmental events, it draws on, and is illustrated by, detailed analysis of individuals’ narratives of inner experience and recollections of childhood.

    Uniquely highlighting the relevant writings of literary figures such as C.G. Jung, Vladimir Nabokov, Ian McEwan, and Henning Mankell, Dolph Kohnstamm explores the construction of selfhood, and the effects it has on time, space, and the other. Together with a chapter assessing the role of the default brain network in the development of self-conception, it both supports and challenges theories of development.

    First Moments of Self-awareness in Childhood offers a new conception of children’s development of a sense of individuality and will be of great interest to scholars and students of psychology, philosophy, and sociology.

    1 The development of self-awareness

    2 Sudden insight

    3 Sudden self-awareness among authors

    4 Awareness of being

    5 I am I, and not someone else

    6 I can sometimes put myself in someone else's shoes

    7 Like I was looking at myself from the outside

    8 This is my body, I am alive!

    9 The firmament and the sunlight

    10 Past times, from now to the end

    11 Mirrors

    12 Extraordinary experiences of joy

    13 Other sudden insights

    14 Sudden cognitive insights

    15 A mind-wandering network

    16 Coda


    Dolph Kohnstamm is Professor Emeritus in Developmental Psychology, Leiden University, Netherlands. He is the author of works including Parental Descriptions of Child Personality, Temperament in Context, and Jean Piaget, Children and the Class-Inclusion Problem.