time, experience, and language: territories of an infancy-to-come


  • césar donizetti leite UNESP - Rio Claro


Childhood, time, experience


It is common to say that we leave infancy when, with the passing of time, very different experiences are produced in us, causing us to mature and, in this way, lead us into adulthood; in other words, we could say that infancy ends when, as time passes, we accumulate and live our different experiences. In this sense, two observations come to mind and make us think about the relations between time, infancy, and experience. Victor Hugo and Picasso offered the following concise phrases: “Infancy begins when time brings experience” (Victor Hugo); and “…when I was twelve, I painted like an adult, and I spent my entire lifetime learning how to paint like a child” (Picasso). This text proposes a reflection on these themes, observing them through the universes of education, philosophy, and psychology, and founded in the ideas of Walter Benjamin, Giorgio Agamben, Comenius, Augustine, and others. Beginning with a political-philosophical reflection on the concept of infancy, we move toward philosophy, and from there, toward an etymological discussion that circumscribes the theme of linguistics and ends with politics. We are invited to contemplate: what is this infancy we produce, and what practices of power do we create in our relations with the infantile? For this reflexive journey, we turn to the discussions of Walter Benjamin and Giorgio Agamben regarding the concept of experience, which lead us to an idea of experience as a route, a crossing, a path to be followed, i.e something that is not given, that is uncertain. Based on this notion, we can link the ideas of infancy and of experience, and both of these to a perspective of opening and to the yet-to-come, the unfinished. In this reflection, we find in St. Augustine spaces for thinking about time as temporality. Amalgamating this reflection on infancy and time with the notion of experience put forth by Benjamin (1987) and Agamben (2005, 2007), other views and possibilities are produced regarding the themes presented by education in the context of new educational practices with children. Key-words: Childhood; time; experience

Author Biography

césar donizetti leite, UNESP - Rio Claro

MEstre e Doutor em Educação UNICAMP Professor do Departamento de Educação e do Programa de Pós Graduação em Educação - UNESP Rio Claro SP



How to Cite

leite, césar donizetti. (2010). time, experience, and language: territories of an infancy-to-come. Childhood & Philosophy, 6(11), pp. 67–85. Retrieved from https://www.e-publicacoes.uerj.br/childhood/article/view/20558




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