chapter  2
Language and the Self: From the “Experiencing I” to the “Continuing Me”
With“Continuing Me” Katherine Nelson
Pages 20

In this chapter I provide a framework for thinking about the development of a self-conscious self-concept from infancy to middle childhood. The framework is an experiential one, emphasizing that what needs to be explained is how the individual child comes to think of him-or herself as a unique individual among a world of persons with a past and a future, in a world that can be known only in part through direct experience. The framework begins with the emergence of the “Experiencing I” through exploratory actions and directed interactions in the context of immediate experience. For development beyond the Experiencing I-to the construction over time of the “Continuing Me”—the child must encounter and supplement direct experience with accounts of the unknown and unexperienced. Immediate interactions must be set into the framework established by representations of the past, the future, other places, other people, other worlds. In this sense the construction of self is but one aspect of the ongoing construction of world models, known and imagined.