Last modified on 13 April 2014, at 11:35

Jean Piaget

For me, education means making creators... You have to make inventors, innovators, not conformists.

Jean Piaget (9 August 189616 September 1980) was a Swiss developmental psychologist, famous for his work with children and his theory of cognitive development.

SourcedEdit

The true solipsist feels at one with the universe, and so very identical to it that he does not even feel the need for two terms.
The true solipsist has no idea of self. There is no self: there is the world.
The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done…
  • If children fail to understand one another, it is because they think they understand one another. The explainer believes from the start that the reproducer will grasp everything, will almost know beforehand all that should be known, and will interpret every subtlety. Children are perpetually surrounded by adults who not only know much more than they do, but who also do everything in their power to understand them, who even anticipate their thoughts and desires. Children, therefore... are perpetually under the impression that people can read their thoughts, and in extreme cases, can steal their thoughts away. It is obviously owing to this mentality that children do not take the trouble to express themselves clearly... This mentality does not contradict ego-centric mentality. Both arise from the belief of the child, the belief that he is the centre of the universe. These habits of thought account... for the remarkable lack of precision in the childish style.
    • The Language and Thought of the Child (1923) Tr. Marjorie and Ruth Gabain (1926)
  • There are no really solipsistic philosophers, and those who think they are deceive themselves. The true solipsist feels at one with the universe, and so very identical to it that he does not even feel the need for two terms. The true solipsist projects all his states of mind onto things. The true solipsist is entirely alone in the world, that is, he has no notion of anything exterior to himself. In other words the true solipsist has no idea of self. There is no self: there is the world. It is in this sense it is reasonable to call a baby a solipsist: the feelings and desires of a baby know no limits since they are a part of everything he sees, touches, and perceives.
    Babies are, then, obviously narcissistic, but not in the way adults are, not even Spinoza's God, and I am a little afraid that Freud sometimes forgets that the narcissistic baby has no sense of self.
    Given this definition of solipsism, egocentrism in children clearly appears to be a simple continuation of solipsism in infants.. Egocentrism, as we have seen, is not an intentional or even a conscious process. A child has no idea that he is egocentric. He believes everybody thinks the way he does, and this false universality is due simply to an absence of the sense of limits on his individuality. In this light, egocentrism and solipsism are quite comparable: both stem from the absence or the weakness of the sense of self.
    • The First Year of Life of the Child (1927), "The Egocentrism of the Child and the Solipsism of the Baby", as translated by Howard E. Gruber and J. Jacques Vonèche
  • If a baby really has no awareness of himself and is totally thing-directed and at the same time all his states of mind are projected onto things, our second paradox makes sense: on the one hand, thought in babies can be viewed as pure accommodation or exploratory movements, but on the other this very same thought is only one, long, completely autistic waking dream.
    • The First Year of Life of the Child (1927), "The Egocentrism of the Child and the Solipsism of the Baby", as translated by Howard E. Gruber and J. Jacques Vonèche
  • Knowing reality means constructing systems of transformations that correspond, more or less adequately, to reality. They are more or less isomorphic to transformations of reality. The transformational structures of which knowledge consists are not copies of the transformations in reality; they are simply possible isomorphic models among which experience can enable us to choose. Knowledge, then, is a system of transformations that become progressively adequate.
  • I am convinced that there is no sort of boundary between the living and the mental or between the biological and the psychological. From the moment an organism takes account of a previous experience and adapts to a new situation, that very much resembles psychology.
    • Interview with Jean Claude Bringuier (1969)
  • As you know, Bergson pointed out that there is no such thing as disorder but rather two sorts of order, geometric and living. Mine is clearly living. The folders I need are within reach, in the order of frequency with which I use them. True, it gets tricky to locate a folder in the lower levels. But if you have to find it, you look for it. That takes less time than putting them away every day.
    • Conversations with Jean Piaget (1980) by Jean Claude Bringuier
  • Education, for most people, means trying to lead the child to resemble the typical adult of his society... But for me, education means making creators... You have to make inventors, innovators, not conformists.
    • Conversations with Jean Piaget (1980) by Jean Claude Bringuier
  • The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered.
    • As quoted in Education for Democracy, Proceedings from the Cambridge School Conference on Progressive Education (1988) edited by Kathe Jervis and Arthur Tobier
  • The essential functions of the mind consist in understanding and in inventing, in other words, in building up structures by structuring reality.
    • Piaget (1971, p.27) cited in: Ernst von Glasersfeld "Homage to Jean Piaget (1896–1980)". In: Irish Journal of Psychology, 18, pp. 293–306

The Moral Judgment of the Child (1932)Edit

Using primarily the translation by Marjorie Gabain (1932)
Since play is still purely individual, one can only talk of motor rules and not of truly collective rules…
Children of this stage, even when they are playing together, play each one "on his own " (everyone can win at once) and without regard for any codification of rules.
Before games are played in common, no rules in the proper sense can come into existence.
We shall see eventually that cooperation between equals not only brings about a gradual change in the child's practical attitude, but that it also does away with the mystical feeling towards authority.
Between the various types of rules which we shall give there will therefore be at once continuity of function and difference of structure.
Here again, one must beware of laying down the law: for things are motor, individual and social all at once.
Not every habit will give rise to the knowledge of a rule. The habit must first be frustrated, and the ensuing conflict must lead to an active search for the habitual.
Every observer has noted that the younger the child, the less sense he has of his own ego.
In order to become conscious of one's ego, it is necessary to liberate oneself from the thought and will of others.
There is little mysticism without an element of transcendence, and conversely, there is no transcendence without a certain degree of egocentrism.
In this way the child will find himself in the presence, not of a system of commands requiring ritualistic and external obedience, but of a system of social relations such that everyone does his best to obey the same obligations, and does so out of mutual respect.
When the child comes to draw things as he sees them, it will be precisely because he has given up taking isolated objects in and for themselves and has begun to construct real systems of relations which take account of the true perspective in which things are connected.
There are in existence two distinct ideas of justice. We say that an award is unjust when it penalizes the innocent, rewards the guilty, or when, in general, it fails to be meted out in exact proportion to the merit or guilt in question.
  • From the point of view of the practice or application of rules four successive stages can be distinguished.
    A first stage of a purely motor and individual character, during which the child handles the marbles at the dictation of his desires and motor habits. This leads to the formation of more or less ritualized schemas, but since play is still purely individual, one can only talk of motor rules and not of truly collective rules.
    The second may be called egocentric for the following reasons. This stage begins at the moment when the child receives from outside the example of codified rules, that is to say, some time between the ages of two and five. But though the child imitates this example, he continues to play either by himself without bothering to find play-fellows, or with others, but without trying to win, and therefore without attempting to unify the different ways of playing. In other words, children of this stage, even when they are playing together, play each one "on his own " (everyone can win at once) and without regard for any codification of rules. This dual character, combining imitation of others with a purely individual use of the examples received, we have designated by the term Egocentrism.
    A third stage appears between 7 and 8, which we shall call the stage of incipient cooperation. Each player now tries to win, and all, therefore, begin to concern themselves with the question of mutual control and of unification of the rules. But while a certain agreement may be reached in the course of one game, ideas about the rules in general are still rather vague. In other words, children of 7-8, who belong to the same class at school and are therefore constantly playing with each other, give, when they are questioned separately, disparate and often entirely contradictory accounts of the rules observed in playing marbles.
    Finally, between the years of 11 and 12, appears a fourth stage, which is that of the codification of rules. Not only is every detail of procedure in the game fixed, but the actual code of rules to be observed is known to the whole society. There is remarkable concordance in the information given by children of 10-12 belonging to the same class at school, when they are questioned on the rules of the game and their possible variations.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game
  • Genetically speaking, the explanation both of rites and of symbols would seem to lie in the conditions of preverbal motor intelligence. When it is presented with any new thing, a baby of 5 to 8 months will respond with a dual reaction; it will accommodate itself to the new object and it will assimilate the object to earlier motor schemas. Give the baby a marble, and it will explore its surface and consistency, but will at the same time use it as something to grasp, to suck, to rub against the sides of its cradle, and so on. This assimilation of every fresh object to already existing motor schemas may be conceived of as the starting point of ritual acts and symbols, at any rate from the moment that assimilation becomes stronger than actual accommodation itself.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game
  • Before games are played in common, no rules in the proper sense can come into existence. Regularities and ritualized schemas are already there, but these rites, being the work of the individual, cannot call forth that submission to something superior to the self which characterizes the appearance of any rule.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game
  • Alongside of the rare cases of true conversation where there is a genuine interchange of opinions or commands, one can observe in children between 2 and 6 a characteristic type of pseudo-conversation or "collective monologue", during which the children speak only for themselves, although they wish to be in the presence of interlocutors who will serve as a stimulus. Now here again, each feels himself to be in communion with the group because he is inwardly addressing the Adult who knows and understands everything, but here again, each is only concerned with himself, for lack of having dissociated the "ego" from the "socius".
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game
  • Considering that the square game is only one of the five or ten varieties of the game of marbles, it is almost alarming in face of the complexity of rules and procedure in the square game, to think of what a child of twelve has to store away in his memory. These rules, with their overlapping and their exceptions, are at least as complex as the current rules of spelling. It is somewhat humiliating, in this connection, to see how heavily traditional education sets about the task of making spelling enter into brains that assimilate with such ease the mnemonic contents of the game of marbles. But then, memory is dependent upon activity, and a real activity presupposes interest.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game
  • As far as the game of marbles is concerned, there is therefore no contradiction between the egocentric practice of games and the mystical respect entertained for rules. This respect is the mark of a mentality fashioned, not by free cooperation between equals, but by adult constraint.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game
  • When the child imitates the rules practiced by his older companions he feels that he is submitting to an unalterable law, due, therefore, to his parents themselves. Thus the pressure exercised by older on younger children is assimilated here, as so often, to adult pressure. This action of the older children is still constraint, for cooperation can only arise between equals. Nor does the submission of the younger children to the rules of the older ones lead to any sort of cooperation in action; it simply produces a sort of mysticism, a diffused feeling of collective participation, which, as in the case of many mystics, fits in perfectly well with egocentrism. For we shall see eventually that cooperation between equals not only brings about a gradual change in the child's practical attitude, but that it also does away with the mystical feeling towards authority.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game
  • In certain circumstances where he experiments in new types of conduct by cooperating with his equals, the child is already an adult. There is an adult in every child and a child in every adult. … There exist in the child certain attitudes and beliefs which intellectual development will more and more tend to eliminate: there are others which will acquire more and more importance. The later are not derived from the former but are partly antagonistic to them.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game, § 8 : Conclusions : Motor Rules and the Two Kinds of Respect
  • Between the various types of rules which we shall give there will therefore be at once continuity of function and difference of structure. This renders arbitrary any attempt to cut mental reality up into stages. The matter is further complicated by the "Law of conscious realization" and the resulting time-lag. The appearance of a new type of rule on the practical plane does not necessarily mean that this rule will come into the subject's consciousness, for each mental operation has to be relearned on the different planes of action and of thought.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game, § 8 : Conclusions : Motor Rules and the Two Kinds of Respect
  • A second prefatory question faces us: that of society and the individual. We have sought to contrast the child and the civilized adult on the ground of their respective social attitudes. The baby (at the stage of motor intelligence) is asocial, the egocentric child is subject to external constraint but has little capacity for cooperation, the civilized adult of to-day presents the essential character of cooperation between differentiated personalities who regard each other as equals.
    There are therefore three types of behavior: motor behavior, egocentric behavior (with external constraint), and cooperation. And to these three types of social behavior there correspond three types of rules: motor rules, rules due to unilateral respect, and rules due to mutual respect.
    But here again, one must beware of laying down the law: for things are motor, individual and social all at once. As we shall have occasion to show, rules of cooperation are in some respects the outcome of the rules of coercion and of the motor rules. On the other hand, coercion is applied during the first days of an infant's life, and the earliest social relations contain the germs of cooperation. Here again, it is not so much a question of these successive features themselves as of the proportions in which they are present. Moreover, the way in which conscious realization and the time-lag from one level to another come into play is a further bar to our arranging these phenomena in a strict sequence, as though they made a single appearance and then disappeared from the scene once and for all.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game, § 8 : Conclusions : Motor Rules and the Two Kinds of Respect
  • The motor rule. In its beginnings the motor rule merges into habit. During the first few months of an infant's life, its manner of taking the breast, of laying its head on the pillow, etc., becomes crystallized into imperative habits. This is why education must begin in the cradle. To accustom the infant to get out of its own difficulties or to calm it by rocking it may be to lay the foundations of a good or of a bad disposition.
    But not every habit will give rise to the knowledge of a rule. The habit must first be frustrated, and the ensuing conflict must lead to an active search for the habitual. Above all, the particular succession must be perceived as regular, i.e. there must be judgment or consciousness of regularity (Regelbewusstseiri). The motor rule is therefore the result of a feeling of repetition which arises out of the ritualization of schemas of motor adaptation.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game, § 8 : Conclusions : Motor Rules and the Two Kinds of Respect
  • Mixture of assimilation to earlier schemas and adaptation to the actual conditions of the situation is what defines motor intelligence. But — and this is where rules come into existence — as soon as a balance is established between adaptation and assimilation, the course of conduct adopted becomes crystallized and ritualized. New schemas are even established which the child looks for and retains with care, as though they were obligatory or charged with efficacy.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game, § 9 : Conclusions : Motor Rules and the Two Kinds of Respect
  • Every observer has noted that the younger the child, the less sense he has of his own ego. From the intellectual point of view, he does not distinguish between external and internal, subjective and objective. From the point of view of action, he yields to every suggestion, and if he does oppose to other people's wills — a certain negativism which has been called "the spirit of contradiction" — this only points to his real defenselessness against his surroundings. A strong personality can maintain itself without the help of this particular weapon. The adult and the older child have complete power over him. They impose their opinions and their wishes, and the child accepts them without knowing that he does so. Only — and this is the other side of the picture — as the child does not dissociate his ego from the environment, whether physical or social, he mixes into all his thoughts and all his actions, ideas and practices that are due to the intervention of his ego and which, just because he fails to recognize them as subjective, exercise a check upon his complete socialization. From the intellectual point of view, he mingles his own fantasies with accepted opinions, whence arise pseudo lies (or sincere lies), syncretism, and all the features of child thought. From the point of view of action, he interprets in his own fashion the examples he has adopted, whence the egocentric form of play we were examining above. The only way of avoiding these individual refractions would lie in true cooperation, such that both child and senior would each make allowance for his own individuality and for the realities that were held in common.
    • Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game, § 8 : Conclusions : Motor Rules and the Two Kinds of Respect
  • Egocentrism in so far as it means confusion of the ego and the external world, and egocentrism in so far as it means lack of cooperation, constitute one and the same phenomenon. So long as the child does not dissociate his ego from the suggestions coming from the physical and from the social world, he cannot cooperate, for in order to cooperate one must be conscious of one's ego and situate it in relation to thought in general. And in order to become conscious of one's ego, it is necessary to liberate oneself from the thought and will of others. The coercion exercised by the adult or the older child is therefore inseparable from the unconscious egocentrism of the very young child.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • There is little mysticism without an element of transcendence, and conversely, there is no transcendence without a certain degree of egocentrism. It may be that the genesis of these experiences is to be sought in the unique situation of the very young child in relation to adults. The theory of the filial origin of the religious sense seems to us singularly convincing in this connection.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • If mutual respect does derive from unilateral respect, it does so by opposition.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • Generally speaking, one can say that motor intelligence contains the germs of completed reason. But it gives promise of more than reason pure and simple. From the moral as from the intellectual point of view, the child is born neither good nor bad, but master of his destiny. Now, if there is intelligence in the schemas of motor adaptation, there is also the element of play. The intentionality peculiar to motor activity is not a search for truth but the pursuit of a result, whether objective or subjective; and to succeed is not to discover a truth.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • The discussion of the game of marbles seems to have led us into rather deep waters. But in the eyes of children the history of the game of marbles has quite as much importance as the history of religion or of forms of government. It Is a history, moreover, that is magnificently spontaneous; and it was therefore perhaps not entirely useless to seek to throw light on the child's judgment of moral value by a preliminary study of the social behaviour of children amongst themselves.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • In real life the child is in the presence, not of isolated acts, but of personalities that attract or repel him as a global whole. He grasps people's intentions by direct intuition and cannot therefore abstract from them. He allows, more or less justly, for aggravating and attenuating circumstances. This is why the stories told by the children themselves often give rise to different evaluations from those suggested by the experimenter's stories.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism, § 1 : The Method
  • It is when the child is accustomed to act from the point of view of those around him, when he tries to please rather than to obey, that he will judge in terms of intentions. So that taking intentions into account presupposes cooperation and mutual respect. Only those who have children of their own know how difficult it is to put this into practice. Such is the prestige of parents in the eyes of the very young child, that even if they lay down nothing in the form of general duties, their wishes act as law and thus give rise automatically to moral realism (independently, of course, of the manner in which the child eventually carries out these desires). In order to remove all traces of moral realism, one must place oneself on the child's own level, and give him a feeling of equality by laying stress on one's own obligations and one's own deficiencies. In this way the child will find himself in the presence, not of a system of commands requiring ritualistic and external obedience, but of a system of social relations such that everyone does his best to obey the same obligations, and does so out of mutual respect. The passage from obedience to cooperation thus marks a progress analogous to that of which we saw the effects in the evolution of the game of marbles: only in the final stage does the morality of intention triumph over the morality of objective responsibility.
    When parents do not trouble about such considerations as these, when they issue contradictory commands and are inconsistent in the punishments they inflict, then, obviously, it is not because of moral constraint but in spite of and as a reaction against it that the concern with intentions develops in the child. Here is a child, who, in his desire to please, happens to break something and is snubbed for his pains, or who in general sees his actions judged otherwise than he judges them himself. It is obvious that after more or less brief periods of submission, during which he accepts every verdict, even those that are wrong, he will begin to feel the injustice of it all. Such situations can lead to revolt. But if, on the contrary, the child finds in his brothers and sisters or in his playmates a form of society which develops his desire for cooperation and mutual sympathy, then a new type of morality will be created in him, a morality of reciprocity and not of obedience. This is the true morality of intention and of subjective responsibility.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • The child who defines a lie as being a "naughty word" knows perfectly well that lying consists in not speaking the truth. He is not, therefore, mistaking one thing for another, he is simply identifying them one with another by what seems to us a quaint extension of the word "lie".
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • The need to speak the truth and even to seek it for oneself is only conceivable in so far as the individual thinks and acts as one of a society, and not of any society (for it is just the constraining relations between superior and inferior that often drive the latter to prevarication) but of a society founded on reciprocity and mutual respect, and therefore on cooperation.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • In this way things, external objects, are assimilated to more or less ordered motor schemas, and in this continuous assimilation of objects the child's own activity is the starting point of play. Not only this, but when to pure movement are added language and imagination, the assimilation is strengthened, and wherever the mind feels no actual need for accommodating itself to reality, its natural tendency will be to distort the objects that surround it in accordance with its desires or its fantasy, in short to use them for its satisfaction. Such is the intellectual egocentrism that characterizes the earliest form of child thought.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • It is as his own mind comes into contact with others that truth will begin to acquire value in the child's eyes and will consequently become a moral demand that can be made upon him. As long as the child remains egocentric, truth as such will fail to interest him and he will see no harm in transposing facts in accordance with his desires.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • Thus we see that the child is almost led to tell lies — or what seem to us lies from our point of view — by the very structure of his spontaneous thought. Given this situation, what will be the result of the laws laid down by adults about truthfulness? On the occasion of the first very obvious lies, or of those connected with some offense or other and told therefore with the object of averting punishment or scolding, the parents point out to the child that he has just done something very wrong and thus inculcate in him the respect for truth.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • The child is a realist in every domain of thought, and it is therefore natural that in the moral sphere he should lay more stress on the external, tangible element than on the hidden motive.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • One must have felt a real desire to exchange thoughts with others in order to discover all that a lie can involve. And this interchange of thoughts is from the first not possible between adults and children, because the initial inequality is too great and the child tries to imitate the adult and at the same time to protect himself against him rather than really to exchange thoughts with him. The situation we have described is thus almost the necessary outcome of unilateral respect. The spirit of the command having failed to be assimilated, the letter alone remains. Hence the phenomenon we have been observing. The child thinks of a lie as "what isn't true," independently of the subject's intentions. He even goes so far as to compare lies to those linguistic taboos, "naughty words." As for the judgment of responsibility, the further a lie is removed from reality, the more serious is the offense. Objective responsibility is thus the inevitable result of unilateral respect in its earliest stage.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • The notion of good, which generally speaking, appears later than the notion of pure duty, particularly in the case of the child, is perhaps the final conscious realization of something that is the primary condition of the moral life — the need for reciprocal affection. And since moral realism is, on the contrary, the result of constraint exercised by the adult on the child, it may perhaps be a secondary growth in comparison to the simple aspiration after good, while still remaining the first notion to be consciously realized when the child begins to reflect upon morality and to attempt formulation.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • For the fundamental fact of human psychology is that society, instead of remaining almost entirely inside the individual organism as in the case of animals prompted by their instincts, becomes crystallized almost entirely outside the individuals. In other words, social rules, as Durkheim has so powerfully shown, whether they be linguistic, moral, religious, or legal, etc., cannot be constituted, transmitted or preserved by means of an internal biological heredity, but only through the external pressure exercised by individuals upon each other.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • As Bovet has demonstrated in the field of morals, rules do not appear in the mind of the child as innate facts, but as facts that are transmitted to him by his seniors, and to which from his tenderest years he has to conform by means of a sui generis form of adaptation. This, of course, does not prevent some rules from containing more than others an element of rationality, thus corresponding to the deepest fundamental constants of human nature. But whether they be rational or simply a matter of usage and consensus of opinion, rules imposed on the childish mind by adult constraint do begin by presenting a more or less uniform character of exteriority and sheer authority. So that instead of passing smoothly from an early individualism (the "social" element of the first months is only biologically social, so to speak, inside the individual, and therefore individualistic) to a state of progressive cooperation, the child is from his first year onwards in the grip of coercive education which goes straight on and ends by producing what Claprède has so happily called a veritable "short circuit."
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • To perceive is to construct intellectually, and if the child draws things as he conceives them, it is certainly because he cannot perceive them without conceiving them. But to give up gradually the spurious absolutes situated away and apart from the context of relations that has been built up during experience itself is the work of a superior kind of rationality. When the child comes to draw things as he sees them, it will be precisely because he has given up taking isolated objects in and for themselves and has begun to construct real systems of relations which take account of the true perspective in which things are connected.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • The majority of parents are poor psychologists and give their children the most questionable moral trainings. It is perhaps in this domain that one realized most how keenly how immoral it can be to believe too much in morality, and how much more precious is a little humanity than all the rules in the world. Thus the adult leads the child to the notion of objective responsibility, and consolidates in consequence a tendency that is already natural to the spontaneous mentality of little children.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • The relations between parents and children are certainly not only those of constraint. There is spontaneous mutual affection, which from the first prompts the child to acts of generosity and even of self-sacrifice, to very touching demonstrations which are in no way prescribed. And here no doubt is the starting point for that morality of good which we shall see developing alongside of the morality of right or duty, and which in some persons completely replaces it.
    • Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism
  • There are in existence two distinct ideas of justice. We say that an award is unjust when it penalizes the innocent, rewards the guilty, or when, in general, it fails to be meted out in exact proportion to the merit or guilt in question. On the other hand, we say that a division is unjust when it favors some at the expense of others. In this second adaptation of the term, the idea of justice implies only the idea of equality. In the first acceptation of the term, the notion of justice is inseparable from that of the reward and punishment, and is defined by the correlation between acts and their retribution.
    • Ch. 3 Cooperation and the Idea of Justice

Quotes about PiagetEdit

  • At one time, many philosophers held that faultless "laws of thought" were somehow inherent, a priori, in the very nature of mind. This belief was twice shaken in the past century; first when Russell and his successors showed how the logic men employ can be defective, and later when Freud and Piaget started to reveal the tortuous ways in which our minds actually develop.
  • Much research in psychology has been more concerned with how large groups of people behave than about the particular ways in which each individual person thinks... too statistical. I find this disappointing because, in my view of the history of psychology, far more was learned, for example, when Jean Piaget spent several years observing the ways that three children developed, or when Sigmund Freud took several years to examine the thinking of a rather small number of patients.

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