There is Philosophy in Child Development

There is Philosophy in Child Development

The famous 5th century, Athenian, Philosopher: Socrates stated "the unexamined life is not worth living." After taking the course Philosophy 115: Philosophy of Human Person I would explain the definition of “life” in a Philosophical sense as being a combination of philosophical ideas such as morality, respect, free-will and scientific issues. The study of philosophy is a very complex and complicated task.
There are so many different questions on many different topics and philosophy tries to explain them all. It tries to provide answers to the many questions that science and religion cannot explain. And from this it urges one to think about issues that may otherwise be ignored. Thus one must strive as Socrates states to examine life otherwise life is not worth living.
If one narrow’s the topic of Philosophy down to just mere human beings one would ask the highly debatable question: What is the true purpose of human beings? I state that this question is “highly debatable” because it is so abstract. Many can argue from all different angles, sides, and beliefs of what is truly the purpose of human beings. Due the complexity of this abstract question, one can state that it is a true Philosophical question because if one were to define the term “Philosophy” the main definition would be as stated – The love of wisdom. Furthermore one must know what the definition of philosophical wisdom is compared to wisdom in general. The definition of Philosophical wisdom is, “the knowledge of the first causes and principles of all things as seen by the natural light of reason.” (Sullivan, 258) The definition can be broken down into four main subgroups as stated below.

1. Knowledge – Not merely lucky guess…
2. Seeks ultimate explanations - …of the first causes and principles…
3. Distinguishes Philosophy from narrower fields (Ex: Science [and its sub branches – natural science, mathematical science) – …of all things…
4. Distinguishes Philosophy from Theology – …as seen by the natural light of reason.

With that said one now has the basis of Philosophy. Yet one may ask, why study philosophy, and how does this have to do with humans? The text states, “In the wide sense in which we have used the word philosophy, all men (human beings) philosophize, whether they know it or not. Our most commonplace expression of optimism or pessimism, selfishness or highmindedness, idealism or cynicism, carry along with them unacknowledged assumptions about the nature of the universe as a whole and man’s (human beings) place in it.” (Sullivan, 4-5) With that stated, one should study philosophy to seek knowledge of things that are unknown. Due to its complexity explain philosophy in a short essay is a very difficult task, however I wanted to be able to personalize with studying philosophy. I then thought of a personal example that not only mirrors certain philosophical ways but also questions them in a large extent.

I wanted to be able to show the correlation between child development and philosophy. I choose to observe my 18 month old daughter, Alexis Marie. After observing and finding out fascinating things about my daughter (as a human being). I then decided to do some background research about child development during the 18 month stage to enhance my assumption that there is a correlation between child development and philosophy.
The main interesting points I discovered were with any level of child development a child’s main goals are to be able to succeed in the main human areas of development as stated below.
• Gross motor: using large groups of muscles to sit, stand, walk, run, etc., keeping balance, and changing positions.
• Fine motor: using hands to be able to eat, draw, dress, play, write, and do many other things.
• Language: speaking, using body language and gestures, communicating, and understanding what others say.
• Cognitive: Thinking skills: including learning, understanding, problem-solving, reasoning, and remembering.
• Social: Interacting with others, having relationships with family, friends, and teachers, cooperating, and responding to the feelings of others.

I then matched these main areas of development with certain main areas of philosophy, I thought were the most relevant to what “makes” the human being. I gathered through some research a few areas stated below.

• Existence – “… of existence is basic, primary, in the sense that you cannot get behind existence; existence is the absolute starting point; the alternative to existence is nothing.” (Sullivan, 217)

• Knowledge- One part of knowledge stated by the dictionary is defined as – “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2) : acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique b (1) : the fact or condition of being aware of something (2) : the range of one's information or understanding c : the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning : cognition d : the fact or condition of having information or of being learned