Piaget's Theory: Prospects and Possibilities, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Piaget's Theory

Prospects and Possibilities, 1st Edition

Edited by Harry Beilin, Peter B. Pufall

Psychology Press

360 pages

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pub: 1992-03-01
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This volume marks the 20th Anniversary Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society. Some of the American contributors were among the first to introduce Piaget to developmental and educational psychology in the United States, while some of the international contributors worked with Piaget to develop his program of genetic epistemology and continue to make significant contributions to it.

Within this volume the possibility of Piaget's paradigm is reviewed not only as the stuff of normal science, yielding fascinating empirical questions that linger within it, but also, and more importantly, as the stuff of revolutionary science, with continuing potential to comprehensively structure our thinking about developmental theory.

The constructive contribution Piaget's theory has for developmental theory emerges as four central themes in the volume:

  • understanding the intentional or semantic aspect of mental life without abandoning the Piagetian assumption that is rational and committed to truth testing;
  • examining mental life and its development as a dialectical relation of function and structure--a relation Piaget introduced in his study of the developmental relation between procedural and operational knowledge;
  • exploring new and interdisciplinary perspectives on equilibration as the driving force of constructive adaptive processes;
  • understanding social and historical forces in individual and cultural development--not necessarily as forces antithetical to Piaget's perspective but as forces that take on new meaning within his framework which avoids erroneous dichotomies such as the distinction between subjective and objective knowledge.


"…provides a good overview of the varied directions in which Piaget-inspired science can proceed. The five parts of the volume reflect these directions in a concise manner…. the editors of the volume have done a superb job of integrating the different contributions, and bracketing them with a substantive introductory chapter by Beilin, and equally productive conclusions by Beilin and Pufall. It is clear from those contributions--as well as from all the chapters in the volume--that Piaget's theoretical and empirical legacy is not only alive but also is being advanced in substantive ways by an intellectually sophisticated group of scientists all over the world."

American Scientist

Table of Contents

Contents: B. Inhelder, Foreword. H. Beilin, Piaget's New Theory. Part I:Understanding Self-Organizing Systems as Equilibrating Systems. R. Garcia, The Structure of Knowledge and the Knowledge of Structure. M. Chapman, Equilibration and the Dialectics of Organization. R. Case, Neo-Piagetian Theories of Intellectual Development. Part II:Theory of Mind: Examining Representation in Thought. J.H. Flavell, Perspectives on Perspective Taking. J. Perner, J. Wilde-Astington, The Child's Understanding of Mental Representation. Part III:Seeking Truth and Meaning: Logic and Scientific Reasoning. J. Brynes, Meaningful Logic: Developmental Perspectives. D. Kuhn, Piaget's Child as Scientist. Part IV:Language, Culture, and Thought. H. Sinclair, Changing Perspectives in Child Language Acquisition. J. Bruner, Narrative as the Construction of Reality. Part V:Constructing Societies. H.G. Furth, The Developmental Origin of Human Societies. J. Youniss, W. Damon, Social Construction in Piaget's Theory. F. Murray, Reconstructing and Constructivism: The Development of American Educational Reform. Part VI:Final Commentary. H. Beilin, P.B. Pufall, In Conclusion: Continuing Implications.

About the Series

Jean Piaget Symposia Series

Each year, following their annual meeting, the Jean Piaget Society publishes an edited volume.  This approximately 300-page volume covers the main themes of the symposium and is published by Psychology Press.

Members of the society receive the volume free of charge. Non-members can order copies from this website.

About the Jean Piaget Society

The Jean Piaget Society, established in 1970, has an international, interdisciplinary membership of scholars, teachers and researchers interested in exploring the nature of the developmental construction of human knowledge. The Society was named in honor of the Swiss developmentalist, Jean Piaget, who made major theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of the origins and evolution of knowledge.

The Society's aim is to provide an open forum, through symposia, books, our journal, and other publications, for the presentation and discussion of scholarly work on issues related to human knowledge and its development. The Society further encourages the application of advances in the understanding of development to education and other domains.

In 1989, the name of the Society was changed to Jean Piaget Society: Society for the Study of Knowledge and Development.

You can find out more on the Jean Piaget Society website at .

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / General