1st Edition

Piaget's Theory Prospects and Possibilities

Edited By Harry Beilin, Peter B. Pufall Copyright 1992
    360 Pages
    by Psychology Press

    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.

    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.


    Harry Beilin, Peter B. Pufall

    "...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