Piaget Systematized

Piaget Systematized

Piaget Systematized

Piaget Systematized

Excerpt

The title of this study calls for clarification. After all, what does it mean to "systematize" Piaget?

Surely the title is given explanation through the content of the study and the idea behind the presentation in these pages of more than 150 experiments conducted by Piaget and his Geneva colleagues.

Yet, the concept of "explanation" itself gives me pause. Do I want to explain Piaget? Do I want to explain children? Do I want to show what children think, do, and believe at different moments of their lives? Do I wish to "map" the world children construct? Is this enterprise a pragmatic attempt to lay bare developmental intellectual processes? Is this book about understanding Piaget through the minds of children, or comprehending children through the mind of Piaget?

This last question alone poses a difficult and interesting experimental problem. Piaget, following Binet's tradition of careful behavioral descriptions, has promoted a genuine revolution in our understanding of human development; but on a theoretical level one can still ask the following important question: To what extent is this understanding biased by the particular philosophical position Piaget takes when observing children? It is by now commonly acknowledged that what is observed is transformed by the observer himself, and that an interpretation is inherently part of the theoretical framework from which it originates.

In thinking about the problems of explanation, I have found myself in various states of mind whose polarity is of some interest. At one extreme, I thought it crucial to explain the underlying theoretical concepts--the epistemological considerations and the abstract constructs--that Piaget had . . .

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