an effort to transform. It is much more difficult to support a claim that qualitative reorganization has taken place in a person's mind when that person is only able to do what others have done before. This is why Piaget's theory was so vulnerable to the nativist attack, a vulnerability that is avoided in the present discussion.
To have shown--at least in the extreme situation of creative accomplishment--that development exists is surely a step forward. But it leaves a great deal to be done. If development only occurs in extreme situations such as those we have called creative, then the argument for development still lacks sufficient force to refute the nativist logic entirely; the strong form of the present argument rests on an unproven assumption that all qualitative reorganizations in thought--creative and noncreative alike--rest on similar principles. What must be done is to show in what senses more common forms of reorganizations in thought also transcend constraints and establish qualitative advances in thought. But note how far we have come toward constructing a positive framework for guiding efforts to comprehend developmental change and how little this framework depends on innate structures.
That events occur that are genuinely developmental should now be clear; that they can be achieved by processes that do not require preexisting structures or innate knowledge should also be clear. The question now is to understand how development works and, in particular, how development works when it changes the world in ways that become part of the crafted human culture ( Feldman, 1988). However sufficient or insufficient the processes proposed in the present account turn out to be for explaining development, they do not describe how such processes might be used in the construction of a qualitatively new thought or idea. This seems to be the next step in understanding development, and a giant step it will be.
Arieti S. Creativity: The Magic Synthesis. New York: Basic Books, 1976.
Bickhard M. "On Necessary and Specific Capabilities in Evolution and Development." Human Development, 1979, 22, 217-224.
Bickhard M. "A Model of Developmental and Psychological Processes." Genetic Psychology Monographs, 1980, 102, 61-116.
Bringuier J. C. Conversations with Jean Piaget. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.