5. Coming to agreement: Object use by infants and adults

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According to the “naturalistic view of the object” children give meaning to objects in a <i>natural</i>, <i>direct</i>, and <i>spontaneous </i>manner, without the need of others. The myth underlying the spontaneity of subject-object encounter is that, in contrast to the widely assumed <i>opacity </i>of “social” reality within modern psychological theory, there exists an alternative reality of “non-social physical” that is <i>literal </i>and <i>transparent</i>. We challenge this by adopting a pragmatic approach to objects. In everyday life, objects are situated in communicative contexts and used for doing things. During their first year of life, children achieve triadic interactions (baby-object-adult) involving very different degrees of agreement with adults concerning an object’s use and meaning by means of diverse semiotic systems in contexts of <i>joint communicative action</i>.


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