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Psychological development is not something self-evidently natural but a partly human creation, emerging contingently from the midstream of human history. Modern developmental psychology is a continuing outgrowth of the religious outlook. Christian ways of thinking have become psychological ones, and they share a common underlying metaphysic; philosophers writing about time such as Heidegger and Ricoeur spring from this same tradition. The so-called predestination of souls from before birth (saved or damned) by divine determinism transitioned into pre-natal biological determinism of cognitive ability and disability. The theory of developmental stages – today (for example) the arrival of ‘logical reasoning’ or ‘empathy’ in the child – emerged from theories about the arrival of saving grace in the individual.
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