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Pre-Reflexive Experience and its Passage to Reflexive Experience: A Developmental View

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Taking a developmental perspective, experience is divided into three domains: the pre- reflexive; and two reflexive domains, the non-verbal reflexive and the verbal reflexive. This splitting of the reflexive domain is done in part because infants spend the first two years of life with only the pre-reflexive and non-verbal reflexive modes during which so many basic interpersonal skills are learned. The structure of experience in these first two domains is very rich. In particular, the role of 'dynamic forms of vitality' as a global organizer of interpersonal experience is presented as playing a major role in the structuring of pre-reflexive experience. The process of the passage of experience between all three domains is also explored, with the following question in mind: what is special about the passage into the verbal reflexive domain? We suggest this process requires acts of 'soft assembly', as described by dynamic systems theory. The soft assembly process, however, is not unique to the verbal reflexive domain but is needed in all passages between domains to link different modes of experience.

Keywords: 'forms of vitality'; developmental perspective; domains of experience; dynamic experience; non-verbal reflexive experience; passage between domains of experience; pre-reflexive experience; soft assembly; verbal relfexive experience

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009


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