Re: [xmca] Re: the Strange Situation - process and the 'non-staticness' of concepts

From: Martin Packer <packer who-is-at>
Date: Wed Oct 29 2008 - 07:28:14 PDT


On 10/29/08 12:55 AM, "David Kellogg" <> wrote:

> But what of it? The real issue, at least for our study group, is whether or
> not Piaget believes that concepts such as causality arise on the basis of
> schemata, and whether these schemata arise on the basis of the modification of
> the senses. On this Piaget is very clear:

Well, for Piaget concepts *are* schemata. Of course for Kant causality is
one of the 4 basic concepts or categories that mind brings to experience of
the world. The other three are space, time, and object. Kant's argument is
that these are not in the world, for if they were our knowledge of them
would be merely contingent, not necessary. So they must be provided by the
mind, actively applied to sensory input.

Piaget agreed with Kant in general, but he thought that Kant went too far in
claiming that the concepts space, time, causality and object are innate. He
believed these fundamental schemata are themselves constructed, and so his
books about infancy are about how the child constructs them from more basic
kinds of schemata. (Textbooks talk only about the construction of object,
object permanence, but the others were equally important to Piaget.)

But according to Piaget, even during infancy causality and the others are
not product of passive perception. Even in their simpler, sensorimotor,
forms they are actively brought to the world by the child, in the form of
actions. The sensorimotor schemas are circular reactions: forms of action
that shape perception rather then vice versa.

This all might sound very compatible with Vygotsky, until one notices that
for Piaget the infant's action is only a matter of *moving* (displacing)
objects in space. The infant's action never *produces* anything, it simply
moves stuff around.


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Received on Wed Oct 29 07:30:02 2008

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