Jean Piaget Quotes

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The principle 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.
Jean Piaget
Intelligence is what you use when you don't know what to do.
Jean Piaget
What we see changes what we know. What we know changes what we see.
Jean Piaget
Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely.
Jean Piaget
Play is the answer to how anything new comes about.
Jean Piaget
I could not think without writing.
Jean Piaget
Every response, whether it be an act directed towards the outside world or an act internalized as thought, takes the form of an adaptation or, better, of a re-adaptation.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Logic is the mirror of thought, and not vice versa;in classes, relations et nombres; essai sur les groupements de logistique et la réversibilitié de lq pensée
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence)
Play is the work of childhood.
Jean Piaget
if one accepts Jean Piaget’s famous definition of mature intelligence as the ability to coordinate between multiple perspectives (or possible perspectives) one can see, here, precisely how bureaucratic power, at the moment it turns to violence, becomes literally a form of infantile stupidity.
David Graeber (The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy)
The individual acts only if he experiences a need, i.e., if the equilibrium between the environment and the organism is momentarily upset, and action tends to re-establish the equilibrium, i.e., to re-adapt the organism (Claparède).
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Every structure is to be thought of as a particular form of equilibrium, more or less stable within its restricted field and losing its stability on reaching the limits of the field.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
intelligence, the most plastic and at the same time the most durable structural equilibrium of behaviour, is essentially a system of living and acting operations.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Children should be able to do their own experimenting and their own research. Teachers, of course, can guide them by providing appropriate materials, but the essential thing is that in order for a child to understand something, he must construct it himself, he must re-invent it. Every time we teach a child something, we keep him from inventing it himself. On the other hand that which we allow him to discover by himself will remain with him visibly for the rest of his life.
Jean Piaget (Play and Development: A Symposium,)
to avoid the difficulties of teleological language, adaptation must be described as an equilibrium between the action of the organism on the environment and vice versa.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Nel, after throwing a stone onto a sloping bank watching the stone rolling said, 'Look at the stone. It's afraid of the grass
Jean Piaget
According to Claparède, feelings appoint a goal for behaviour, while intelligence merely provides the means (the "technique"). But there exists an awareness of ends as well as of means, and this continually modifies the goals of action.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
We shall simply say then that every action involves an energetic or affective aspect and a structural or cognitive aspect, which, in fact, unites the different points of view already mentioned.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
theory or have remained unaffected by them. It is true that a fact can sometimes appear to resemble an “accident,” as in the case of the apple that fell near Newton, but the accident only became a “fact” because Newton asked certain questions.
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (Selected Works, Vol 9))
Every psychological explanation comes sooner or later to lean either on biology or on logic (or on sociology, but this in turn leads to the same alternatives).
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Piaget’s work shows that our concepts of logic, space, time, number, quantity, etc., are not given readymade as Kant thought, but undergo a process of development.
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (Selected Works, Vol 9))
A fact is first an answer to a question. If Sartre had consulted psychologists before judging them in the light of his own genius, he would have learned that they do not wait on the accident but begin by setting themselves problems.
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (Selected Works, Vol 9))
So we must start from this dual nature of intelligence as something both biological and logical.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
As Jean Piaget studied children, he discovered that they were moral philosophers who struggled with good and evil, understanding and applying rules.
Catherine Stonehouse (Joining Children on the Spiritual Journey: Nurturing a Life of Faith (Bridgepoint Books))
The child psychologist Jean Piaget saw conflict as a critical part of mental development. Through battles with peers and then parents, children learn to adapt to the world and develop strategies for dealing with problems. Those children who seek to avoid conflict at all cost, or those who have overprotective parents, end up handicapped socially and mentally. The same is true of adults: it is through your battles with others that you learn what works, what doesn’t, and how to protect yourself. Instead of shrinking from the idea of having enemies, then, embrace it. Conflict is therapeutic.
Robert Greene (The 33 Strategies Of War (The Robert Greene Collection))
We shall adopt an analogous formula, with the reservation that feelings and cognitive configurations do not depend solely on the existing "field," but also on the whole previous history of the acting subject.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
A response is thus a particular case of interaction between the external world and the subject, but unlike physiological interactions, which are of a material nature and involve an internal change in the bodies which are present, the responses studied by psychology are of a functional nature and are achieved at greater and greater distances in space (perception, etc.) and in time (memory, etc.) besides following more and more complex paths (reversals, detours, etc.).
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
When Jean Piaget lectured in the United States, he was frequently asked whether the rate at which children attained his cognitive stages could be accelerated—in other words, whether you could train your child to be "ahead" of other children. Piaget was bewildered by the question. In his view of development, being "ahead" or "behind" anyone else was meaningless. But he got the question often enough that he came to associate it with a particular worldview: he called it "the American Question.
Nicholas Day (Baby Meets World: Suck, Smile, Touch, Toddle)
I know some very intelligent philosophers, not at all dogmatic, who believe that “science” cannot introduce the concept of finality in the analysis and explanation of vital processes, but that “philosophy” equally cannot arrive at an adequate concept of organic life without introducing finality. It is not a question here of moral or other values, but rather of a concept peculiar to philosophical biology as opposed to biology. Indeed, one such philosopher concluded, drawing inspiration from Merleau-Ponty, that science can “never” give an adequate explanation of the concept of the “whole structure” of the organism.
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (Selected Works, Vol 9))
But if all behaviour, without exception, thus implies an energetics or an "economy", forming its affective aspect, the interaction with the environment which it instigates likewise requires a form or structure to determine the various possible circuits between subject and object.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Knowledge is not predetermined by heredity; it is not predetermined in the things around us - in knowing things around him the subject always adds to them.
Jean Piaget
Formal logic, or logistics, is simply the axiomatics of states of equilibrium of thought, and the positive science corresponding to this axiomatics is none other than the psychology of thought.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
But these structures, forming different levels, are to be regarded as succeeding one another according to a law of development, such that each one brings about a more inclusive and stable equilibrium for the processes that emerge from the preceding level.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Thus arises the solution proposed by the so-called Gestalt psychology: behaviour involves a "total field" embracing subject and objects, and the dynamics of this field constitutes feeling (Lewin), while its structure depends on perception, effector-functions, and intelligence.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Piaget is also concerned with attempts of Maine de Biran, Bergson, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty to construct a philosophical psychology as opposed to a scientific empirical psychology. He believes that the difference between philosophical psychology and scientific psychology lies neither in the fact that the former concerns itself with “essences” (Husserl), with “irrationality” (Sartre), nor in its use of introspection. He sees the difference as being one rather of method: philosophical psychology neglects objective verification and grounds itself in subjectivity, although claiming to arrive at objective knowledge through intuition.
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (Selected Works, Vol 9))
The fundamental problem with learning mathematics is that while the number sense may be genetic, exact calculation requires cultural tools—symbols and algorithms—that have been around for only a few thousand years and must therefore be absorbed by areas of the brain that evolved for other purposes. The process is made easier when what we are learning harmonizes with built-in circuitry. If we can’t change the architecture of our brains, we can at least adapt our teaching methods to the constraints it imposes. For nearly three decades, American educators have pushed “reform math,” in which children are encouraged to explore their own ways of solving problems. Before reform math, there was the “new math,” now widely thought to have been an educational disaster. (In France, it was called les maths modernes and is similarly despised.) The new math was grounded in the theories of the influential Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, who believed that children are born without any sense of number and only gradually build up the concept in a series of developmental stages. Piaget thought that children, until the age of four or five, cannot grasp the simple principle that moving objects around does not affect how many of them there are, and that there was therefore no point in trying to teach them arithmetic before the age of six or seven.
Jim Holt (When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought)
Psychology, in fact, repre- sents the juncture of two opposite directions of are still insufficient. In the science of human be- scientific thought that are dialectically comple- mentary. It follows that the system of sciences cannot be arranged in a linear order, as many people beginning with Auguste Comte have at- tempted to arrange them.
Jean Piaget
According to Claparède, feelings appoint a goal for behaviour, while intelligence merely provides the means (the "technique"). But there exists an awareness of ends as well as of means, and this continually modifies the goals of action. In so far as feeling directs behaviour by attributing a value to its ends, we must confine ourselves to saying that it supplies the energy necessary for action, while knowledge impresses a structure on it. Thus arises the solution proposed by the so-called Gestalt psychology: behaviour involves a "total field" embracing subject and objects, and the dynamics of this field constitutes feeling (Lewin), while its structure depends on perception, effector-functions, and intelligence.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
This new philosophical psychology can in this respect be traced back to Maine de Biran, for even if in his time scientific psychology was unaware of its autonomy, and even if Biranian psychology was only critical of that of the empiricists, Biran believed in the Kantian distinction of noumena and phenomena and took care to limit his inquiry to the latter alone, which did not prevent him from extending it in the form of idealist speculations.
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (Selected Works, Vol 9))
Now to picture the mechanism of this process of construction and not merely its progressive extension, we must note that each level is characterized by a new co-ordination of the elements provided—already existing in the form of wholes, though of a lower order—by the processes of the previous level. The sensori-motor schema, the characteristic unit of the system of pre-symbolic intelligence, thus assimilates perceptual schemata and the schemata relating to learned action (these schemata of perception and habit being of the same lower order, since the first concerns the present state of the object and the second only elementary changes of state). The symbolic schema assimilates sensori-motor schemata with differentiation of function; imitative accommodation is extended into imaginal significants and assimilation determines the significates. The intuitive schema is both a co-ordination and a differentiation of imaginal schemata. The concrete operational schema is a grouping of intuitive schemata, which are promoted, by the very fact of their being grouped, to the rank of reversible operations. Finally, the formal schema is simply a system of second-degree operations, and therefore a grouping operating on concrete groupings. Each of the transitions from one of these levels to the next is therefore characterized both by a new co-ordination and by a differentiation of the systems constituting the unit of the preceding level. Now these successive differentiations, in their turn, throw light on the undifferentiated nature of the initial mechanisms, and thus we can conceive both of a genealogy of operational groupings as progressive differentiations, and of an explanation of the pre-operational levels as a failure to differentiate the processes involved. Thus, as we have seen (Chap. 4), sensori-motor intelligence arrives at a kind of empirical grouping of bodily movements, characterized psychologically by actions capable of reversals and detours, and geometrically by what Poincaré called the (experimental) group of displacement. But it goes without saying that, at this elementary level, which precedes all thought, we cannot regard this grouping as an operational system, since it is a system of responses actually effected; the fact is therefore that it is undifferentiated, the displacements in question being at the same time and in every case responses directed towards a goal serving some practical purpose. We might therefore say that at this level spatio-temporal, logico-arithmetical and practical (means and ends) groupings form a global whole and that, in the absence of differentiation, this complex system is incapable of constituting an operational mechanism. At the end of this period and at the beginning of representative thought, on the other hand, the appearance of the symbol makes possible the first form of differentiation: practical groupings (means and ends) on the one hand, and representation on the other. But this latter is still undifferentiated, logico-arithmetical operations not being distinguished from spatio-temporal operations. In fact, at the intuitive level there are no genuine classes or relations because both are still spatial collections as well as spatio-temporal relationships: hence their intuitive and pre-operational character. At 7–8 years, however, the appearance of operational groupings is characterized precisely by a clear differentiation between logico-arithmetical operations that have become independent (classes, relations and despatialized numbers) and spatio-temporal or infra-logical operations. Lastly, the level of formal operations marks a final differentiation between operations tied to real action and hypothetico-deductive operations concerning pure implications from propositions stated as postulates.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence)
To expect a fact, is by definition to expect the isolated, it is for positivism, to prefer the ‘accident’ to the essential, the contingent to the necessary, disorder to order; it is in principle to reject the essential in the future:
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (Selected Works, Vol 9))
for example, to see whether in the developing subject, i.e. the child, integers are directly constructed starting from class logic by biunivocal correspondence and the construction of a “class of equivalent classes” as Frege and B. Russell thought, or whether the construction is more complex and presupposes the concept of order.
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (Selected Works, Vol 9))
The key principle of Jean Piaget's genetic epistemology is constructivism. Constructivism rejects old-fashioned rationalism: Knowledge is not made out of special knowledge-parts preformed in each individual knower at birth. It also rejects empiricism: Knowledge does not consist of epistemic pieces impressed on the knower by the environment, whether physical or social. Instead, the knower has to construct knowledge.
Ulrich Müller (The Cambridge Companion to Piaget (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy))
For someone who constantly comes across this problem in the course of his professional activities, the question whether philosophy has the status of a “wisdom” or of a form of “knowledge” peculiar to itself is no longer an unnecessary or simply a theoretical problem; it is a vital question, since it affects the success or failure of thousands of scholars.
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (Selected Works, Vol 9))
Jean Piaget was the first psychologist to complete a systematic study of cognitive development. He introduced us to the idea that children are not simply “miniature adults” but actually think in very different ways.
Clare Landrigan (Assessment in Perspective)
Plus la banque de données de l'enfant est riche, plus il pourra faire de connexions ensuite, donc assimiler de nouveaux savoirs. À l'inverse, un enfant peu stimulé, pas très curieux de nature, va se constituer une très petite banque de données et aura du mal à faire des ponts entre un nouvel apprentissage et son matériau personnel de base. […] L'enfant petit doit vivre des expérimentations qui vont lui permettre, des années plus tard, de passer de la pensée concrète à la pensée abstraite. En voici un exemple frappant. Le petit enfant aime jouer avec de la pâte à modeler. Vers 4-6 ans, il découvre un concept essentiel sans le savoir : la conservation de la quantité. C'est un test qui est fait chez l'orthophoniste pour un enfant en difficulté mathématique. Il joue avec sa pâte à modeler. Elle est en boule ; puis on lui propose de l'étaler et d'en faire un long serpentin. Si on lui demande : "Est-ce que tu as autant de pâte à modeler que tout à l'heure ?", il peut répondre par l'affirmative. Mais certains enfants n'imaginent pas que la même quantité puisse changer de forme. Donc, il répondent : "Pas du tout, là, il y en a beaucoup plus. Tu ne vois pas comment c'est long ?" Tant que l'enfant n'a pas compris ce concept de conservation de la quantité (ou du nombre), il ne peut pas faire des conversions ; il ne peut pas concevoir que des centimètres deviennent des mètres, et qu'une même quantité puisse s'appeler de différentes façons. Arrivé à l'âge des opérations concrètes, comme dirait Jean Piaget, il bute sur des concepts qu'il ne comprend pas, parce que le "terrain" n'a pas été préparé en lui pour qu'il les intègre. (p. 74-75)
Isabelle Peloux (L'école du Colibri: La pédagogie de la coopération (Domaine du possible))
Uma verdade aprendida não é mais que uma meia verdade, enquanto a verdade inteira deve ser reconquistada, reconstruída ou redescoberta pelo próprio aluno" (Piaget, 1950, p.35).
Alberto Munari (Jean Piaget (Portuguese Edition))
somente a educação pode salvar nossas sociedades de uma possível dissolução, violenta ou gradual
Alberto Munari (Jean Piaget (Portuguese Edition))
When you teach a child something, you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself.” –Jean Piaget
Janet Lansbury (Elevating Child Care: A Guide To Respectful Parenting)
Intelligence is what you use when you don’t know what to do." Jean Piaget
Nigel C. Benson (The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained)
Children should be able to do their own experimenting and their own research. Teachers, of course, can guide them by providing appropriate materials, but the essential thing is that in order for a child to understand something, he must construct it himself, he must re-invent it. Every time we teach a child something, we keep him from inventing it himself. On the other hand that which we allow him to discover by himself will remain with him visibly [...] for all the rest of his life.
Jean Piaget (Play and Development: A Symposium,)
Psychologist Jean Piaget once said, “When you teach a child something, you take away forever his chance to discover it himself.” Start with the experience; then relate it to the content.
Norman Eng (Teaching College: The Ultimate Guide to Lecturing, Presenting, and Engaging Students)
In fact, objects are known only through the subject, while the subject can know himself or her- self only by acting on objects materially and mentally. Indeed, if objects are innumerable and science indefinitely diverse, all knowledge of the subject brings us back to psychology, the science of the subject and the subject's actions.
Jean Piaget
In fact, objects are known only through the subject, while the subject can know himself or her- self only by acting on objects materially and men- tally. Indeed, if objects are innumerable and sci- ence indefinitely diverse, all knowledge of the sub- ject brings us back to psychology, the science of the subject and the subject's actions. The fourth remark: People may say that I thus engage in philosophy or epistemology and no longer in scientific psychology. But, in the research that we pursue, it is impossible to dissociate psychology from epistemology. Indeed, if we study only one level of development (for example, that of the adult or adolescent), it is easy to distinguish the prob- lems: psychological experience, emotions, intelli- gence and its functions, etc., on the one hand, and the broad problems of knowledge (epistemology), etc., on the other. But if we want to study cogni- tive functions and pursue a developmental point of view in order to study the formation and trans- formations of human intelligence (and this is why I specialized in child psychology), then the prob- lems must be formulated very differently: How is knowledge acquired, how does it increase, and how does it become organized or reorganized? These are the very questions that must be answered.
Jean Piaget
For some writers mental phenomena become intelligible only when related to the organism. This view is of course inescapable when we study the elementary functions (perception, motor functions, etc.) in which intelligence originates. But we can hardly see neurology explaining why 2 and 2 make 4, or why the laws of deduction are forced on the mind of necessity.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Thus arises the second tendency, which consists in regarding logical and mathematical relations as irreducible, and in making an analysis of the higher intellectual functions depend on an analysis of them. But it is questionable whether logic, regarded as something eluding the attempts of experimental psychology to explain it, can in its turn legitimately explain anything in psychological experience.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
We have seen already in the first chapter how one such model—the developmental, pioneered by child psychologist Jean Piaget—helps explain the roots of our unconscious emotional programs for happiness. Each of us needs to be reassured and affirmed in his or her own personhood and self-identity. If this assurance is withheld because of lack of concern or commitment on the part of parents, these painful privations will require defensive or compensatory measures. As a consequence, our emotional life ceases to grow in relation to the unfolding values of human development and becomes fixated at the level of the perceived deprivation. The emotional fixation fossilizes into a program for happiness. When fully formed it develops into a center of gravity, which attracts to itself more and more of our psychological resources: thoughts, feelings, images, reactions, and behavior. Later experiences and events in life are all sucked into its gravitational field and interpreted as helpful or harmful in terms of our basic drive for happiness. These centers, as we shall see, are reinforced by the culture in which we live and the particular group with which we identify, or rather, overidentify.
Thomas Keating (Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation)
I … sent a program of research to the Rockefeller Foundation. … [Their] questions were almost all of a surprising pertinence. I remember the practical questions … But I particularly remember the theoretical questions, due among others to [Shannon] Weaver, the mathematician interested in information theory who was then in charge of the Department of Science at the Foundation: How will you find interesting epistomological ideas, for example, the theory of relativity, in studying children who know nothing and who in any case are brought up in the intellectual tradition dating from Newton? … I had the luck to be able to remark … that Einstein himself had advised me in 1928 to study the formation of the intuitions of velocity in order to see if they depended on those of duration, and that further, when I had the good fortune to see Einstein again at Princeton …, he was quite delighted by the reactions of nonconservation of children of four to six years (they deny that a liquid conserves its quantity when it is poured from one glass into another of a different shape: ‘There is more to drink than before,‘ etc.), and was greatly astonished that the elementary concepts of conservation were only constructed toward seven or eight years.
Jean Piaget (Insights and Illusions of Philosophy: Selected Works Vol 9)
The first reason for my growing disaffection with the traditional methods of philosophy was caused in the main by the conflict, which I felt within myself, between the habits of verification of the biologist and the psychologist, and speculative reflection, which constantly tempted me, but which could not possibly be submitted to verification… Two ever deepening convictions were forced on me … One is that there is a kind of intellectual dishonesty in making assertions in a domain concerned with facts, without a publicly verifiable method of testing, and in formal domains without a logistic one. The other is that sharpest possible distinction should at all times be made between personal improvisations, the dogma of a school or whatever is centered on the self or on a restricted group, and, on the other hand, the domains in which mutual agreement is possible, independently of metaphysical beliefs or of ideologies. … My second reason for disaffection may well appear odd to pure philosophers. It refers to something which from the psycho-sociological point of view is very significant: this is the surprising dependence of philosophical ideas in relation to social or even political change. … I was very much struck, after the First World War (and still more so after the Second) by the repercussions that the social and political instability then prevailing in Europe had on the intellectual climate, and this naturally led me to doubt the objective and universal value of the philosophical standpoints adopted in such conditions.
Jean Piaget
Without a coherent sense of a self, without the order that produces our identity, the world around us will also become more chaotic and feel less amenable to our wants and needs, or as Jean Piaget explains: “We organize our worlds by first organizing ourselves.” If the shocks to the patterns of our life are serious enough, and if we cannot find a way to absorb them, we become susceptible to a psychological breakdown due to the intense emotionality that arises in the face of a disintegrating self: “When novel experiences greatly exceed the individual’s capacities to balance, feelings of being overwhelmed are common. Episodic or chronic disorder and “breakdown” may result.” Michael Mahoney, Constructive Psychotherapy
Academy of Ideas