Dialectics in the Studies of Jean Piaget - Child Psychology

Dialectics in the Studies of Jean Piaget

In many respects, a similar characteristic can be given to the approach of Piaget. Suffice it to recall the two opposites underlying the analysis of development, like accommodation and assimilation. X. Pascual-Leone remarked: "When Piaget ... wrote about" logical structures "as applied to human psychology, he was involuntarily closer to using Hegel's logic (ie dialectics) than to what we find in the Western mathematics or philosophy. " According to H. Pascual-Leone, if in the work of LS Vygotsky is represented the "external" the dialectic of the development of the child (the interaction of the child and society), then in the writings of Piaget the inner dialectic of development is most vividly expressed. Let us turn to the following example. As is known, in the studies of J. Piaget the child was put in situations in which he was intentionally misled. The children's answers were caused by schemes that were not relevant to the task, but had an external resemblance to the schemes necessary to solve it. And that's why the situation of fraud, causing irrelevant schemes, drastically reduced the likelihood of the needed for solving schemes. It is obvious that in the examples proposed by Piaget, opposites were encountered - relevant and irrelevant schemes.

According to J. Piaget, an interesting empirical fact is that the situations created by teachers in the process of teaching preschool children are not capable of characterizing child development. Such situations, according to Piaget, should be as clearly as possible to demonstrate the difference between one stage of development and another. In reality, this does not happen. The fact is that in the quality of teaching situations, such tasks are performed that are somehow accessible to children. In other words, these are relatively few situations that characterize individual cases, rather than systemic processes. Therefore, the learning situation is more likely to cloud development processes, while they themselves are not developing. Situations that mislead the child, clearly demonstrate its development (such are the majority of situations in which Piaget's phenomena were discovered). Only in them, the relevant schemes demonstrate their power to overcome irrelevant schemes.

Nevertheless, the development process of Piaget is presented dialectically. He speaks of mental development in terms of genesis and structure. Mental structure is a system (for example, a system of mental operations), which has its own laws, but is only part of the psyche. Genesis is defined by him as a process of transformation from state A to a more stable state B. Piaget believed that if in Gestalt psychology structuralism without genesis is represented, and in behaviorism, genesis without a structure, then in his theory genesis and structure are inseparable from each other. He argued that genesis arises from the structure and realizes itself in the structure; each structure has a genesis. In other words, Piaget, just like Vygotsky, actually applied a dialectical approach to the study of child development.

However, unlike LS Vygotsky, he also dealt with the analysis of dialectical processes proper. Thus, he conducted a thorough study of the development of dialectical thinking in childhood. In the work "Elementary Dialectical Structures Piaget stressed that dialectical thinking "does not come down to a limited form that individual authors (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) would like to put into it" - it exists everywhere where the two systems initially operated separately, but did not contradict each other, and then merged into a new integrity that increased the capabilities of both the first and second systems. In this case, according to J. Piaget, "dialectics constitutes a logical aspect of equilibrium".

In this context, Piaget believed that studying the genesis of the number in the child is an example of the study of dialectical thinking in mathematics. He showed how two structures: ordering (ordination) and inclusion, which do not have contradictions among themselves, which can not therefore be interpreted either as a thesis or as an antithesis, and, accordingly, synthesis, form a new integrity - the idea of ​​a number, increasing the possibilities and ordering and inclusion. The very idea of ​​the number in this case acted as an equilibrium state, and dialectics as the achievement of this state. Piaget said that in any cognitive development there is an alternation of two phases: dialectical and discursive, understood as the phase of equilibrium. If equilibrium is not achieved, then there are contradictions in thinking.

Jean Piaget defined the main dialectic situations: 1) the combination of two independent structures in the third, increasing their opportunities; 2) establishment of coordination between parts of the same object; 3) the inclusion of a new structure in its composition of the old structure as a subsystem; 4) circular interaction (when equilibrium is achieved through forward and backward movement: predicate, concept, judgment, inference and inference, judgment, concept, predicate); 5) the transition from the initial independence and absoluteness of the properties of individual objects to their subsequent coordination, as in the teaching of chess. He stressed that all these five cases of dialectics can be summarized in one general statement: dialectics is the genetic aspect of any equilibrium. A consequence of Piaget's approach may be the understanding of dialectical thinking as a process of the formation of formally logical structures. It seems that Piaget began to consider dialectical thinking not as an independent thought process, but as a process of development. This viewpoint, apparently, leads to a confusion of two different processes: the dialectical process of development and the process of dialectical thinking, different from it, as a movement of thought, based on the structures of dialectical logic.

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