The Child's Conception of the World
A milestone of child psychology, The Child's Conception of the World explores the ways in which the reasoning powers of young children differ from those of adults. What conceptions of the world does the child naturally form at the different stages of its development? To what extent does the child distinguish the external world from an internal or subjective world and what limits does he or she draw between the self and objective reality? These questions make up the first problem, the child's notion of reality. A second fundamental problem is the significance of explanations put forward by the child. What use does he or she make of the notions of cause and law? Is the form of explanation presented by the child a new type? These and like questions form the second problem, the child's notion of causality. Jacques Voneche, Director of the Piaget Archives in Geneva, Switzerland, provides a preface to this classic in which he reveals the provanance of The Child's Conception of the World within the context of Piaget's other work and the then-burgeoning field of developmental psychology.
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Page 34 - ... is the effort to exclude the intrusive self. Realism, on the contrary, consists in ignoring the existence of self and thence regarding one's own perspective as immediately objective and absolute. Realism is thus anthropocentric illusion, finality — in short, all those illusions which teem in the history of science. So long as thought has not become conscious of self, it is a prey to perpetual confusions between objective and subjective...
Page xxxiv - ... as it is internal activity, and it is impossible to decide once for all whether the progress of the experiment is due to that of reason or the inverse. From this point of view the morphologic-reflex organization, that is, the physiological and anatomic aspect of the organism, gradually appears to the mind as external to it, and the intellectual activity which extends it by internalizing it presents itself as the essential of our existence as living beings. In the last analysis, it is this process...
Page 9 - And above all, it is so hard to find the middle course between systematization due to preconceived ideas and incoherence due to the absence of any directing hypothesis! The good experimenter must, in fact, unite two often incompatible qualities; he must know how to observe, that is to say, to let the child talk freely, without ever checking or side-tracking his utterance, and at the same time he must constantly be alert for something definitive; at every moment he must have some working hypothesis,...