THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE ARTS TO SCIENCE, ILLNESS, AND TRUTH
The most comprehensive of the systems seeking to elucidate human development is that formulated by Jean Piaget. Concerned mainly with the development of knowledge, Piaget described in detail how conceptions of many scientific and quasi-scientific objects evolve during childhood. His account of these developmental trajectories and the rich assortment of protocols he has collected are invaluable sources about the genesis of reason. What constitutes Piaget's claim to a new psychological paradigm, however, is his demonstration that every child's thought, irrespective of domain, passes through the same stages as it tends towards adult thought.
After a 1- or 2-year sensorimotor period during which the child constructs, on the practical level, a model of time, space, object, and causality, he enters the preoperational period, during which he employs symbols to represent aspects of the world that until then he has known only through action. Piaget's description of the preoperational period, probably the sparest he has written, is a most valuable one, which seems to be generally consistent with the viewpoint adopted here. He suggests that in his initial use of symbols the child abstracts general properties from the world. Initial symbol use involves the principles of the making system; the same landmarks of development that first occur in the sensorimotor period must be reached again on the symbolic level. Piaget emphasizes the making system; he does not have analogies to the perceiving and feeling systems. For him, perceiving is a type of making activity.