BiographyJean William Fritz Piaget , (August 9th 1896 with Neuchâtel - September 16th 1980 with Geneva), is a Psychologue, biologist, logician and epistemologist known Suisse for his work in Psychologie of the development and epistemology with what it has called the genetic epistemology.
He is the oldest son of Arthur Piaget, professor of medieval literature, and the Frenchwoman Rebecca James Jackson.
At the eleven years age, Jean Piaget, raises with the Latin college of Neuchâtel, writes a short comment on an albino sparrow seen in a park. This short article, is regarded as the starting point of a brilliant scientific career illustrated by an about sixty books and several hundreds of articles.
Its interest for molluscs develops after adolescence. He will become a famous malacologist as of the end of his secondary studies. Piaget will publish many articles in this field, and will continue to be interested all its life in it.
After its maturity it registration number with the Faculty of Science of the University of Neuchâtel, where he obtains a Doctorate of Natural science. For this period it publishes two books with philosophical contents, which it will describe later as writings of adolescence, but which will be determining for the evolution of its thought.
After one six-month period spent to Zurich, where it is initiated with the psychoanalysis, it leaves to work in Paris at the laboratory of Alfred Binet for one year during which it studies the problems of the development of the intelligence.
In 1921, it is called by Edouard Claparède and Pierre Bovet at the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute of the University of Geneva to occupy the post of head of work. In 1923, he marries Valentine Châtenay of which he will have three children on which he will study the development of the intelligence of the birth to the language.
He will be successively professor of psychology, sociology, philosophy of sciences at the University of Neuchâtel (1925 to 1929), professor of history of the scientific thought at the University of Geneva of 1929 to 1939, director of the International office of Education of 1929 to 1967, professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Lausanne of 1938 to 1951, professor of sociology at the University of Geneva of 1939 to 1952, then professor of experimental psychology of 1940 to 1971. He was the only Swiss professor with being invited to teach in the Sorbonne, of 1952 to 1963. He will found the International Center of Genetic Epistemology in 1955 qu ' he will direct until his death.
Its work of genetic psychology and epistemology aims at answering the fundamental question of the construction of knowledge. Through various research which it undertook by studying the logic of the child, it could highlight on the one hand that this one is built gradually, while following its own laws, and on the other hand, that it evolves/moves throughout the life while passing by various characteristic stages before reaching the level of the adult. The contribution essential of Piaget with knowledge was to show that the child has specific ways of thinking which distinguish it entirely from the adult. The work of Piaget is diffused in the whole world and continues to inspire, today still, of work in fields as varied as psychology, sociology, education, epistemology, the economy and the right, as the Catalogs testify some annual published by the Foundation Files Jean Piaget. It obtained more than thirty doctorates honoris causa of various Universities throughout the world and many prices.
General theoryPiaget includes in its theoretical explanations Concept S baldwiniens such as the adaptation by Assimilation/Accommodation and the circular reaction.
It is based on work of Binet and enriches them at the request of Simon.
Its Théorie is inspired by the evolutionary Philosophie of Spencer and the philosophy of Kant. It is also a Théorie original constructivist of the Genèse of the Intelligence and Connaissance S human which makes it possible Piaget to draw up close links between the biological problem of the evolution and the adaptation of the species and the psychological problem of the development of the Intelligence.
According to Piaget, the origin of the human thought is not born from the simple feeling, it is not either an innate element. It is built gradually when the individual, and in particular the child, come into contact with the world. Thanks to these repeated contacts the child develops basic units of the mental activity, called designs.
A design is an abstract entity which is the organization of an action (e.g. suction). The designs change while becoming more generals (suction of other objects), more and thus become more “mobile”. They combine in an organization of the type means-goal (e.g. the rake to take an object). According to Piaget, the designs are an organized whole of movements (to suck, draw, push…) or of operations (to seriate, classify, measure,…) which the child has (in the first case), or that it acquires and develops by its interaction with the surrounding world.
These designs are anchored in the spirit, when the experiment consolidates them, or change when they are contradicted by the facts.
With each time the individual perceives an object (which can be physical or an idea), it tries to assimilate it. If this assimilation, i.e. the integration of the object to a preexistent psychological design fails, then begins a process of accommodation. In other words the Assimilation is a mechanism consisting in integrating a new object or a new situation into a whole of objects or a situation for which there exists already a design, whereas the Accommodation is a mechanism consisting in modifying an existing design in order to be able to integrate a new object or a new situation. The balancing is self-regulation between assimilation and accommodation. These is a process which makes it possible to pass from a psychological state of balance to another, qualitatively different, while passing by multiple imbalances and rééquilibrations.
Principal concepts. It is against the concepts of in. Piaget tries to model the development of the intelligence on the basis of logical principle. The child is a grass logician, which gives a direction to the objects while making emerge their property and functions. Reinvent the physical world. One speaks about constructivism. Piaget speaks about exteriorized and interiorized actions. All that are physical design.
Logic and mathematics are the reasoning the reasoning is the optimal form of the biological adaptation, therefore brain.
Various stages of the individual evolution
The psychological development of the child is divided into several stages by Piaget. Each stage itself is divided into under-stages. Each individual is obliged to pass by these four stages since each one conditions the following. These various moments of the development are:
the sensorimotor stage (of the birth at 2 years)
- the period pre operational (from 2 to 6 years)
- the period of the concrete operations (from 6 to 11 years)
- the period of the formal intelligence (from 11 to 16 years)
The ages which see the passage from one stage to another only indicative and are based on an average. Certain children can thus begin the passage of the third at the fourth stage as of 10 years whereas others reach that point only around 12 years.
The sensorimotor stage
At the beginning the intelligence is primarily practical. It makes it possible the child to organize reality according to a whole of space-time and causal structures.
The child at this stage not having neither language, neither function symbolic system, these constructions are carried out while being based exclusively on perceptions and movements, in other words, by a sensorimotor coordination of the actions without intervening neither the representation nor the thought.
One of the trainings essence during this period is that of the comprehension of the permanence of the object. What Piaget understands by permanence it is the fact that a person grants an existence to the things “external with ego, persevering in the being when they do not affect perception directly” (cf Piaget, 1937). How the baby represent does the objects which he does not see any more? For Jean Piaget the child realizes of the permanence of the objects by successive stages:
1st stage (from 1 to 2 months): the child does not have any reaction following the disappearance of an object.
- 2nd stage (from 2 to 4 months): the child has an emotional reaction (tears, cries, etc) to the disappearance of the object but any research
- 3rd stage does not begin (from 4 to 8 months): it acquires practical permanence, it returns to the toy which it left. On the other hand if one poses a linen above it does not seek it except if it is him which put it below (or if it sees part of the object, which makes direction for him, exceeding)
- 4th stage (from 8 to 12 months): the child seeks the object systematically. However its representation of the object is not yet perfect, it makes the error known as of “stage IV” (or error has not B): during the visible displacement of the object he seeks it where he previously found it and not necessarily where he disappeared.
- 5th stage (from 12 to 18 months): the child solves the problem of the preceding stage as long as displacements of the object are visible. If they are invisible (for example one puts the object in a hand and one puts it, without the newborn seeing it, under a cushion), the child seeks the object in the hand and does not seek elsewhere.
- 6th stage (18 months in 24 months): the child is able to find the object even if displacements are invisible.
The child perceives the conservation of the object then, this conservation being " interdependent of all the space-time organization of the practical universe, as well, naturally, as its structuring causale"
The end of this first period is marked by the access to the function symbolic system. When it acquires the Fonction symbolic system, the baby is able to represent objects and situations not directly perceptible using signs (words) or of symbols (drawing). It is known that the Fonction symbolic system is acquired when one observes at the baby five types of conduits: the differed Imitation, the Play symbolic system, the Drawing, the mental Image and the Language.
The operational pre period
At the beginning of this period, the child ensures his control of the notions of space and time and the function symbolic system. These objects although generally acquired at the time of the preceding stage are then more assured. The permanence of the object is also completely acquired because the child can represent the existence of an object without this one being present.
This period is especially marked by various acquisitions. Initially the child strongly develops his linguistic capacities. It is able to dialog little by little. In addition it is as during this period as the concept of quantity is formed.
At the psychological level this stage is marked by the self-centredness which is marked by the artificialism, moral causality, finalism. The artificialism is the fact of thinking that all is created by the man, moral causality amounts considering that the physical laws are similar to the laws morals, finalism tends to explain the world by giving a reason to any thing (e.g. the trees shake their branches to produce wind). Childish self-centredness represents the lack of differentiation of the subject and the object, as well as the confusion from the clean point of view with that of others. Self-centredness is the incapacity that with the child to decentre itself and to coordinate its point of view with that of others. Self-centredness thus constitutes to some extent the equivalent on the level of the representation of what is " the Adualisme " first sensorimotor stage; i.e., the indissociation enters the clean body and the external medium. This concept is also dependant on an imbalance of the assimilation and accommodation.
It is as to note as the child at this stage lives in contradiction, with the direction where it can affirm a thing and its opposite immediately after without that obstructing it. Within the framework of the logical operations the child starts to be able to classify or seriate objects but without concept of reversibility; it is still unable to make an operation and its reverse.
The period of the concrete operationsFor this period, the child builds a intellectual structure allowing him to handle mental operations in a logical way. Nevertheless, this intelligence, known as operational, remains dependant on the presence in the field of the perception of the elements on which carries the reflection, marked by the reversibility of any operation
The period of the formal intelligenceThis period is that of adolescence. As from 11 years and up to 16 years the individual will set up the final designs which he will use throughout his life. Whereas the child, hitherto, could reason only on the concrete one, the teenager can now establish detached assumptions of the sensitive world. In the theory piagétienne, the access to formal logic is the last stage of a process which begins as of the birth. As any stage it is the fruit of a succession of adaptations to reality. Towards the 11 years age the newborn can be satisfied more with a concrete logic, it starts to feel the need to establish assumptions, reasoning hypothético-deductive (of the type if… then) for better apprehending the world. During the five years which last this stage the logical designs will set up themselves and will affirm themselves until they are completely operational towards the 16 years age. Until adolescence, the possible one is a form of reality, at the stage of the formal intelligence, it is the reality which is a form of the possible one. That means that for the child the base is reality and that it erects scaffolding of the assumptions from this one, but thereafter it is able to imagine theories decontextualized for then applying them to the sensitive world.
AdaptationFor Piaget, the Intelligence is only one more elaborate form of the biological adaptation.
The adaptation of an individual to his environment is the result of a process of transformation tending towards the balance. The state of permanent balance is impossible, the environment and the individual not being static. The adaptation is thus continuous during the Ontogenèse in particular by (D) successive balancings of the structures of the intelligence (designs and operations).
genetic epistemology is current epistemology which is based on the analysis of the development of knowledge at the man.
To give an account of the evolution of knowledge through the study of the development of the intelligence in the child implies a particular approach of this child: on the one hand Piaget does not see the child like object of study but like average a rapid to apprehend the development and the operation of the intelligence, on the other hand, the individual subject does not interest it but it is the epistemic subject conceived like the whole of the mechanisms common to all the subjects of the same level (Piaget, 1968) which is the object of its work.
Initially, it makes it possible the newborns to establish a similarity and thus a common social code with the adult. It constitutes then a premise of the comprehension of the mental states (perceptible) of others. Indeed, if its interaction with the adult world is regular and adequate, the baby will be able to label such facies in such mental state, then allowing him to use them advisedly.
Moreover, it corresponds to one of the means which the young child has to learn and communicate. > To learn because they is while imitating largest that the child will engrave the various conduits in a suitable context. This function is valid up to approximately 18 months. > To communicate because until a certain age (on average until 2ans) the newborn does not speak and can thus have recourse only to the imitation, and more particularly with the simultaneous imitation, to interact with its pars.
Clinico-experimental methodThe clinical method corresponds to an interrogation guided but flexible to highlight the level of reasoning of the child. It is based on situation-tests. Since 1947, Piaget called its method " method critique" because the discussion inter subjective with the child has experimental aimings, which has nothing to do with the clinical method strictly speaking.
See also: circular Reaction
Borrowed from James Mark Baldwin, this concept indicates, in the infant, the repetition of a driving cycle aiming:
- to maintain a feeling pleasant: primary circular reaction,
- to maintain a spectacle interesting implying of the objects: secondary circular reaction,
- to explore the consequences, on the objects, of the variations in the action: tertiary circular reaction.
That appears between the age of 1 and 4 months. At this time, the circular reaction corresponds to the acquisition of the first practices.
Then between 4 and 9 months, the child starts to acquire coordination between the vision and gripping of an object, then between one year and a year and half, the circular reaction becomes increasingly complex.
Structures of the intelligenceAugust 1st
- "The intelligence organizes the world by organizing it-même." the construction of reality in the child , 1937.
- " A science begins only with one sufficient delimitation from the problems likely to circumscribe a ground of research on which the agreement of the spirits is possible." p.41, Epistemology of the social sciences , Paris, Gallimard, coll Ideas, 1970.
- " One knows an object only while acting on him and in the transformant." Psychology and epistemology, Paris, Denoël, 1970, p. 85.
- " The acquisition of information results in a " perturbation" who will involve at the individual a " déséquilibre" cognitive field and to require a work of synthesis to then assimilate, integrate, criticize, admit, add this news in a cognitive field enrichi." , 1940.
Birth of the intelligence in the Child , Delachaux and Niestlé, 1936.
- the construction of reality in the child , Paris, Delachaux and Niestlé, 1937.
- Introduction to genetic epistemology. Volume I: The mathematical thought , university Presses of France, 1950, Paris.
- Introduction to genetic epistemology. Volume II: The physical thought , university Presses of France, 1950, Paris.
- Introduction to genetic epistemology. Volume III: The biological thought, the psychological thought and the social thought , university Presses of France, 1950, Paris.
- sociological Studies , Droz Bookstore, 1965, Geneva.
- Logical and Scientific knowledge , Encyclopedia of the Pleiad, 1967.
- Biology and knowledge , Editions of the Pleiad, 1967, Paris.
- Psychology and pedagogy , Gonthiers Denoël, 1969, coll Mediations, Paris.
- Psychology and epistemology , Gonthiers Denoël, 1970, coll Mediations, Paris.
- Where goes education? , Gonthiers Denoël, 1972, coll Mediations, Paris.
- Of pedagogy , Editions Odile Jacob, 1988, Paris.
- genetic epistemology , Which do I know? , PUF. ISBN 2130549977.
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