This paper highlights some theoretical assumptions contained in psychoanalytical models of development and shows how Stern’s work has challenged these assumptions leading to a deep revision of some psychoanalytical concepts. In the second part of the paper, the author presents an epistemological critique of Stern’s theories. In particular, starting from Philip Cushman’s critical considerations, the author highlights the tendency underlying Stern’s theories of seeing infant development as aimed at the intrinsic and universal creation of an autonomous self. In closing and starting from Michele Minolli’s theory based on the epistemology of complexity, the author suggests some principles for a contextual theory of development.
Keywords: Daniel Stern, sense of self, clinical child, observed child, contextual child, Ego-subject