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Book notes Jean Piaget

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Jordan Peterson

1) Constructionism - The Evolutionary Rationalism of Jean Piaget (p.665-708) - Focus on study of normality and of the workings of the intellect to tricks of the unconscious - Impressed by the idea of “organisms that exist in nature are living beings in a constant state of change, a creative motion which is just as much a part of their total being as the part-structures that evolve” - Focus mind ON body, NOT as a direct physical matter, but as a developmental patterning over and beyond physical structures to achieve reliability and reproducibility of rational thought - Highest form of rationality  logic/math = virtual end points of a lifelong evolutionary process reproduced in the thinking of every person - Genetic Assimilation – animals have chose to change environmental locations, not because of any living consequences of needing to migrate o Organism interacting with its environment to bring our changes = important - Evolution or development  2 way o Influenced by physical (hereditary) genesis, but also by cognitive (behavioral) genesis  Lower animals construct their physical structures by assimilation and accommodation  Higher animals construct their rational cognitive structures by assimilation and accommodation - **DEVELOPMENT IS MORE FUNDAMENTAL THAN LEARNING** o Ex. Tarzan can live without a language to be logical in the wild 2) Genetic Epistemology 基因認識論– formation and meaning of knowledge a. Knowledge would have no validity if the structures of the mind failed to match up to structures of physical reality b. Mental structures correspond with experience because they begin in physical patterning of real events c. Genesis – antecedents, transformations and increasing stability  Ex. In biology, ontogenesis means leading to relatively stable state of adulthood d. Genetic epistemology teaches that mind is constructed by its own actions, primitive and UNSTABLE at first, but in time increasingly stabilized, conserved and reversible – made better and better, thanks to actions of person with knowledge in the environment  formative transition e. Development is synonymous with progress f. Piaget’s aim: although human beings have organic structures which have evolved and are influenced by genetic codes from parents, the structures of thought – knowledge are NOT transmitted g. The evolution of mind is an active process of shaping and reshaping knowledge until that stability in abstraction is achieved 3) Personality Theory – Construction of Patterns among related actions h. We must always appreciate that basic nature of reality is CHANGE, MOVEMENT and DEVELOPMENT i. 2 things we can learn as a pattern  We can observe or see ourselves doing things  We can SENSE ourselves doing what we are doing  At first we reach reflexively, but as we practice our reaching, we learn in a way that is no longer reflexive nor simply observational j. We FIRST act, then learn 4) Scheme VS concept k. Concept: broad, what is common and what is different about all sorts of things l. Scheme (part-patterns) : what is common among different actions carried out at different times  Ex. “distance” is learned after we have already formed a scheme of this life experience m. Semi-related to gestalt – whole is not JUST the sum of the parts (schemata) – the parts are constantly shifting relations both internally and externally with other parts to form a WHOLE pattern. (Not just 1+1=double, it’s a new pattern of relationship) 5) Structure – must be reliable and distinctive patterned which can be abstracted and recognized repeatedly, not just fixed entities, but also systematic processes n. As structures change, grow and develop  transformation o. **patterned relations can be changed within a structure even though the overall systematic form remains identifiable** (ex. We can never step into the same river twice) p. Piaget: transformation and identity are forever inseparable (p.671) q. Syncretic thought – when children think in personal, vague, or unanalyzed schematic structures  we then use brain capacity to transform structures of a sensorimotor (reflexive), schematic nature to increasingly abstract structures to promote cognitive understanding = “we construct structures by our own design”  Ex. A child slipped on a wet floor while playing in the rain, and for a period of time assumes that water or wet means harm/hurts r. Structuralist theory  there is no structure apart from construction, either abstract or genetic VS. Kelly  construction is just purely cognitive (mental) process 6) Construction – brings a structure in ongoing, systematic process of both organic and mental life (Piaget studies biological basis of constructure) s. Material construction (bodily adaptations in organic evolution) VS. construction of structures (what we use to transform our world) t. Combination / differentiation of schemata or whole-structures  Ex. Discovery of wheel – combination of scheme “rolling” and “unmoving” u. Outcome of both (organic and cognitive) constructions is a new structure  Ex. Animal is actively involved in what comes about  Newborn child is NOT a reactive mechanism who has the capacity to know how to spatially locate a stimulus because the perception of space involves a gradual construction and DOES NOT EXIST READY MADE OUT OF MENTAL DEVELOPMENT  Bandura: knowledge does not begin in the I, and it does not begin in the physical object; it begins in the interactions 7) Equilibrium – developmental stability of higher level cognitive conceptions **reciprocal balancing between assimilation and accommodation**  very important v. Developmental course of construction is from body-to-mind w. Babies cognitive conceptions are not given at birth, but begin in constructive capacities of the body as foreshadowed in reflexive movements, the sensorimotor actions that we all bring with us biologically when we are born **2 main concepts** 1. Assimilation 吸收(absorb and integrate)– frames on the person’s influence on understanding of environment, **making environment fit the scheme already constructed** a. Ex. Babies suck their thumb becaus
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