Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:52 am

Edward L. Gardner
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 8/16/19



E. L. Gardner in 1927

E. L. Gardner as member of Exec Committee of TS in England

N. Sri Ram and E. L. Gardner at Tekels Park. © Theosophical Society in England Archives.

Edward Lewis Gardner (1869-1969) was a noted writer and lecturer from the English Section of the Theosophical Society based in Adyar, India.

Personal life

Gardner was born at Coggeshall, Essex, England in 1869. He was first married to Clara Beard in 1892. She died in 1920, and he later, in 1922, married Eliza Adelaide Draper, a respected Theosophical writer and lecturer who was born in the United States.

Theosophical Society involvement

Gardner joined the TS on April 17, 1907. He served as General Secretary of the English Section from 1924-28. According to Theosopedia,

Gardner traveled widely as an International Lecturer for the Theosophical Society. In 1926 he founded the theosophical community at Stamford House, Wimbledon, London, and presided over it until 1940. Gardner was one of a group that bought Tekels Park, now vested in the English section of the TS. [1]

In 1918 Gardner had the honor of delivering the inaugural Blavatsky Lecture on the subject of "Matter is the Shadow of Spirit," followed by "The Nature and Function of the Soul" in 1946, and "Whence Come the Gods? and Related Studies" in 1959.

Later years

Bookmark featuring Gardner, issued by TS in England

Book cover, 1962.


Gardner was much known for his writings. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 74 articles under the name EL Gardner, 3 under E L Gardner, and 14 under Edward L Gardner.

In 1940 he was awarded the Subba Row Medal for his contributions to Theosophical literature. These are books and pamphlets that he wrote:

• The Fourth Creative Hierarchy, Matter is the Shadow of Spirits, and The Web of the Universe. Madras, India: F.E. Philp & Sons, 1913. Reprinted 1936, rev. Ed. 1938.
• The Web of the Universe. 1936.
• The Play of Consciousness. 1939.
• Fairies; A book of Real Fairies. 1945.
• Fairies: The Cottingley Photographs and Their Sequel. 1945.
• The Mysteries. 1945.
• The Nature and the Function of the Soul. 1946.
• The Imperishable Body. 1949.
• The Heavenly Man. 1952.
• The Wider View & Studies in the Secret Doctrine. 1962. Håkan Blomqvist describes this as "a collection of articles published between 1944-1959. In several of these articles Gardner tries to understand the UFO enigma from a Theosophical viewpoint. His theory is that they represent either etheric Venusians or deva materializations."[2]
• There Is No Religion Higher Than Truth. 1964. Booklet.
• A Mind to Embrace the Universe. 1965.
• Thyself Both Heaven and Hell. 1966.


1. "Gardner, Edward Lewis" in Theosopedia.
2. Håkan Blomqvist at at UFOArchives.blogspot.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:01 am

Adolphe Ferrière
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/16/19



Adolphe Emmanuel Ferrière
Born 30 August 1879
Geneva, Switzerland
Died 16 June 1960 (aged 80)
Geneva, Switzerland
Nationality Swiss
Education University of Geneva
Occupation Educator, Author
Known for pedagogy

Adolphe Ferrière (Geneva, 1879 - Geneva, 1960) was one of the founders of the movement of the progressive education. He shortly worked in a school in Glarisegg (TG,CH) and later founded an experimental school ('La Forge') in Lausanne, Switzerland, but Adolphe Ferrière had to quickly abandon teaching due to his deafness. In 1921, he founded the New Education Fellowship, in which he wrote the charter. The congress of this league until the Second World War included a number of other teachers: Maria Montessori, Célestin Freinet, Gisèle de Failly and Roger Cousinet. He worked as a humanist and an editor from 1919 to 1922 on the pacifist journal 'l'Essor' (The Rise). [1] He was one of the founding members of the International Bureau of Education (IBE) in 1925, and served as its first Deputy Director alongside Elisabeth Rotten.[2] He was also a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).[1] · [3] Throughout his life, he has published a substantial number of books, some of which were done with Karl-Ernst Krafft.[1] · [4]

He is listed as one of the 100 most famous educators, by the International Bureau of Education (IBE).[5]


• Science and faith, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1912
• The law of progress in biology and sociology, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1915
• Transforming schools, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1920 (reprint 1948)
• The autonomy of students, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1921 (reprint 1950)
• The spontaneous activity in children, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1922
• Education in the family, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1920
• The practice of active school, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1922 (reprint 1929)
• The active school, 1920 (reprint 1953)
• The coééducation gender, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1926. (included in "Transforming Schools", 1948)
• Spiritual progress, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1926
• Bakula and his work educator, 1926
• The maternal heart Pestalozzi, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1928
• The psychological types in children, in adults and in the course of education, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1922
• The future of genetic psychology, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1931
• The school measure, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1931
• Characterological typocosmique, Geneva and Paris, 1932.
• In collaboration with Karl-Ernst Krafft
• Our children and the future of the country, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1942
• Human liberation, Éditions du Mont Blanc, Geneva, 1943
• Towards a natural classification of psychological types, Nice, 1943
• Children's Home after the war, Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchâtel, 1945
• The school workforce across Europe, Michon, Paris, 1948
• Brief introduction to the new education, Bourrelier, Paris, 1951
• The mystery of the person, Rigois, Turin, 1955

See also

• Pedagogy


1. ... rriere.pdf
2. IBE (2015). IBE In Focus: 90 years of excellence in education (PDF). UNESCO. p. 22.
3. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
4. ... 5PPzheEKIw[permanent dead link]
5. ... ation.html
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:12 am

Karl Ernst Krafft
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/16/19



Karl Ernst Krafft (10 May 1900 – 8 January 1945) was a Swiss astrologer, born in Basel. He worked on the fields of astrology and graphology.[1]

Astrology career

After graduating from university in mathematics, for the best part of ten years he worked on a massive book entitled Traits of Astro-Biology. This expounded his own theory of "Typocosmy": the prediction of the future based on the study of an individual's personality, or type.[1] By the early 1930s, when Hitler had come to power, Krafft enjoyed a unique status among occultists and prophets in Germany. The National Socialists, later to become his patrons, at first posed a threat to him. Occultists, like Freemasons, were among those harassed and vilified by most National Socialists.

While the Nazi state persecuted astrologers, Rudolf Hess and Heinrich Himmler consulted them. Krafft moved into the orbit of the National Socialist elite in November 1939 when he made a remarkable prediction. He predicted that the Führer's life would be in danger between 7 and 10 November.[1] He wrote, on 2 November to a friend, Dr Heinrich Fesel, who worked for Himmler, warning him of an attempt on Hitler's life.[2] Fesel filed the letter away, unwillingly to become enmeshed in something dangerous.[citation needed]

On 8 November, a bomb exploded at the Munich beer hall. There were many injuries but the target, Adolf Hitler, was unscathed because he left the assembly in the hall a few minutes before the explosion. When newspapers reported the near-catastrophe Fesel dispatched a telegram to Hess, drawing attention to Krafft's prediction. Krafft was arrested and brought to Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin. Krafft's proclamation of exacting astrological rules managed to convince the Gestapo that astrology enabled its practitioners to make accurate forecasts of future events resulting in now being employed by the Nazi Propaganda Ministry, the SS and even the Foreign Office to carry out astrological studies of a political nature.[2] After his release he was summoned to the Reich Propaganda ministry, run by Dr Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels had recently taken to poring over Nostradamus, trying to squeeze propaganda from the prophecies. Krafft, he felt, should work on deciphering the cryptic quatrains. In January 1940, Krafft began work on a pro-German evaluation of Nostradamus.[citation needed]

Krafft was convinced that the prophecies of Nostradamus boded well for the Third Reich. Tens of thousands of pamphlets based upon his interpretations of the quatrains were translated and circulated in six languages: French (translated by Krafft himself), Danish, Hungarian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish[3] and he soon came to the attention of the Führer. In the spring of 1940 he gave a private horoscope reading for Hitler to an aide. but he never met his leader.[4]

British intelligence became so concerned at the thought that their opponent's war was being conducted by a mystic that they, for a time, hired the services of astrologer Louis De Wohl. De Wohl was quietly dropped after several months, having failed to procure any hard evidence about Krafft's work.

Krafft warned the Reich leaders that for victory to be certain, the war must end for Germany in 1943. Krafft's star was still in the ascendancy when Rudolf Hess made his astonishing flight to Scotland in 1941. Hitler was outraged. Hess was the biggest occult supporter of them all. Hitler ordered a purge of astrologers, occultists and other sages. Krafft was caught up in this.[2] He worked on horoscopes of Allied generals and admirals, having informal contacts with Kurd Kisshauer and Amt Rosenberg. One of his predictions when seeing the charts of both Rommel and Bernard Montgomery, adversaries in the desert war, was: "Well this man Montgomery's chart is certainly stronger than Rommel's."[4]

Later life

Krafft was arrested in June 12, 1941 as part of a crackdown on astrologers, faith healers and occultists following Rudolf Hess's flight to England. While imprisoned, Krafft's health began to fail and he developed a persecution complex. He wrote to a senior official predicting that British bombs would very soon destroy the Propaganda ministry in Berlin (another true statement). He contracted typhus, and eventually died on 8 January 1945 en route to the Buchenwald concentration camp.{Howe, Ellic,1967, "Astrology and Psychological Warfare During World War II" Rider & Co 191}[2]

See also

• Nazi mysticism


1. T.W.M. van Berkel. "Information on Karl Ernst Krafft". Nostradamus Research., Retrieved 2013-5-30.
2. Wing, Richard (30 April 2012). "Hitler and the secret astrologers". Unexplained Mysteries., Retrieved 2013-5-30.
3. T.W.M. van Berkel. "World War II Krafft". Nostradamus Research., Retrieved 2013-5-30.
4. Currey, Robert (March 1, 2008). "Strange Role of Astrology in World War II"., Retrieved 2013-5-30.
• Zodiac and Swastika by Wilhelm Wulff.
• Mysteries of the Unexplained Section 2 (Karl Ernst Krafft and the Hitler Horoscopes) by Reuben Stone.
• Astrology and Psychological Warfare during World War II by Ellic Howe.

External links

• Karl E.Krafft -photo, bio from Russia
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:19 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/16/19



Eranos is an intellectual discussion group dedicated to humanistic and religious studies, as well as to the natural sciences which has met annually in Moscia (Lago Maggiore), the Collegio Papio and on the Monte Verità in Ascona Switzerland since 1933.

It has also been the name for a circle of scholars at Heidelberg (Germany) in the early 20th century. Among others, Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch were members of the "Heidelberg Eranos".

The name is derived from the Ancient Greek word ἔρανος meaning "a banquet to which the guests bring contributions of food, a no-host dinner." The circle at Moscia was founded by Olga Froebe-Kapteyn[1] in 1933, and these conferences have been held annually on the grounds of her estate (on the shores of Lago Maggiore near Ascona in Switzerland) ever since. For over seventy years this event has served as a point of contact for thinkers from disparate fields of knowledge ranging from depth psychology and comparative religion to history, literary criticism and folklore, and provides a setting and a congenial group within which to discuss all things spiritual. Each conference takes place over eight days, during which time all participants eat, sleep and live together, thereby promoting a camaraderie which fosters an atmosphere of free and open discussion. Each year a new theme is addressed, and each participant scholar delivers a two-hour lecture on a topic of his choice relating to the theme — his/her contribution to the ‘banquet’ of ideas — thereby attempting to draw these multifarious thinkers into productive intellectual discourse.

Eranos’ beginnings

Froebe-Kapteyn established this group at the suggestion of the eminent German religious historian, Rudolf Otto. Froebe-Kapteyn was the Dutch foundress of the literary salon "Table Ronde" (Round Table), which is indicative of the Eranos’ ‘spiritualist’ bent. Indeed Eranos was from its very outset interested in these issues and its first theme, ‘Yoga and Meditation in East and West’, was a truly pioneering subject in the early 1930s. Past themes include Ancient Sun Cults and the Symbolism of Light in the Gnosis and in Early Christianity (1943), Man and Peace (1958), Creation and Organization (1966) and The Truth of Dreams (1995). Participants over the years have included Heinrich Zimmer (Indian religious art), Karl Kerényi (Greek mythology), Mircea Eliade (history of religions), Carl Gustav Jung and Erich Neumann (analytical psychology), Alfons Rosenberg (symbolism), Gilles Quispel (gnostic studies), Gershom Scholem (Jewish mysticism), Henry Corbin (Islamic religion), Gilbert Durand (symbolic anthropology), Adolf Portmann (biology), Herbert Read (art history), Max Knoll (physics), and Joseph Campbell (comparative mythology).[2] The Eranos conferences have resulted in the publication of a number of books.[3] Anyone may attend the lectures upon payment of a small fee.


1. Eranos Foundation (History) Archived 2009-02-22 at the Wayback Machine
2. Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism Archived 2006-12-06 at the Wayback Machine
3. List of published Eranos Lectures

Further reading

• ERANOS, Neue Folge (New series), 1993ff. Königshausen & Neumann, Wuerzburg, 17 volumes published in 2016.
• HAKL, Hans Thomas, Der verborgene Geist von Eranos – Unbekannte Begegnungen von Wissenschaft und Esoterik – Eine alternative Geistesgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts, Scientia nova-Verlag Neue Wissenschaft, Bretten 2001.
• BERNARDINI, Riccardo, Jung a Eranos. Il progetto della psicologia complessa. FrancoAngeli, Milano 2011, ISBN 978-88-568-3449-9.
• QUAGLINO, Gian Piero, ROMANO, Augusto, & BERNARDINI, Riccardo (Eds.), Carl Gustav Jung a Eranos 1933-1952, Antigone Edizioni, Torino 2007, ISBN 978-88-95283-13-5.
• REIBNITZ, Barbara von, “Der Eranos-Kreis – Religionswissenschaft und Weltanschauung oder der Gelehrte als Laien-Priester", in: FABER, Richard, & HOLSTE, Christine (Ed.), Kreise, Gruppen, Bünde – Zur Soziologie moderner Intellektuellerassoziation, Könighausen + Neumann, Würzburg 2000, pp. 425–440.
• BARONE, Elisabetta, et al., Pioniere, Poeten, Professoren - Eranos und Monte Verità in der Zivilisationsgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts, Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2004 [articles in English, German, Italian].
• SCHABERT, Tilo, "Une herméneutique intercivilisatrice: L`École d`Eranos", in: WEILL, Nicolas (Ed.), Existe-il une Europe philosophique?, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, Rennes 2005, pp. 297–302.
• SCHABERT, Tilo, "The Eranos Experience",in: Barone, Elisabetta et al., Pioniere, Poeten, Professoren, 9-19; online:
• SCHABERT, Tilo, "In the Fading of Divine Voices: The Song of Eranos", in: Tilo Schabert, Matthias Riedl (Eds.), "Gott oder Götter? - God or Gods?", Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2009, 181-188; online:
• SCHABERT, Tilo, "On the recent history of the Eranos-Tagungen. From Olga Froebe-Kapteyn to the Amici di Eranos", in: Matthias Riedl, Tilo Schabert, (Eds.), "Die Stadt: Achse und Zentrum der Welt - The City: Axis and Centre of the World", Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2011, 133-142; online: ... gungen.pdf
• SCHABERT, Tilo (Ed.) "The Eranos Movement. A Story of Hermeneutics", Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg, 2016, 202 p., ISBN 978-3-8260-5855-4.
• WASSERSTROM, Steven M., Religion after religion. Gershom Scholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1999, ISBN 0-691-00539-7.
• GASSEAU, Maurizio, & BERNARDINI, Riccardo, "Il sogno: prospettive di Eranos", in: GASSEAU, Maurizio, & BERNARDINI, Riccardo (Eds.), Il sogno. Dalla psicologia analitica allo psicodramma junghiano, FrancoAngeli, Milano 2009, pp. 15–55, ISBN 978-88-568-0679-3.
See also: "Selected Bibliography",

External links

• Eranos Foundation official website
• Eranos Unofficial Site
• Who is who in Analytical Psychology?: Eranos Circle
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:23 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/16/19



Historically, the term 'Kosmobiologie' was used by the German medical astrologer Friedrich Feerhow and Swiss statistician Karl Krafft in a more general sense "to designate that branch of astrology working on scientific foundations and keyed to the natural sciences".[1]

The term cosmobiology was popularized in English after the translation of the writings of Reinhold Ebertin, who based a large part of his techniques on the midpoint-astrology work of Alfred Witte[2] The term most frequently refers to the school of astrology founded by Ebertin. The main difference between Witte's Hamburg School and Ebertin's Cosmobiology is that Cosmobiology rejects the hypothetical Trans-Neptunian objects used by the Hamburg School and practitioners of Uranian astrology. Another difference is the significant expansion of Cosmobiology into medical astrology, Dr. Ebertin being a physician.

Cosmobiology continued Witte's ultimate primary emphasis on the use of astrological midpoints along with the following 8th-harmonic aspects in the natal chart, which both Witte and Ebertin found to be the most potent in terms of personal influence: conjunction (0°), semi-square (45°), square (90°), sesquiquadrate (135°), and opposition (180°).

In cosmobiological analysis, planets are inserted into a special type of horoscope often referred to as a 'Cosmogram' (derived from the Uranian 90° dial chart) and delineated.

The primary reference/research text for Cosmobiology was first published in 1940 by the German astrologer Reinhold Ebertin. The name of the book is The Combination of Stellar Influences. The original German title is Kombination der Gestirneinflusse. Its foundations were derived largely from the early versions of the "Regelwerk für Planetenbilder" by Alfred Witte, and then further built upon by Ebertin and colleagues.

Ebertin defined Cosmobiology as the following:

"Cosmobiology is a scientific discipline concerned with the possible correlation between the cosmos and organic life and the effects of cosmic rhythms and stellar motion on man, with all his potentials and dispositions, his character and the possible turns of fate; it also researches these correlation and effects as mirrored by earth's plant and animal life as a whole. In this endeavor, Cosmobiology utilises modern-day methods of scientific research, such as statistics, analysis, and computer programming. It is of prime importance, however, in view of the scientific effort expended, not to overlook the macrocosmic and microcosmic interrelations incapable of measurement."[3]

What is noteworthy about both Cosmobiology and Uranian astrology, which has developed along a different path technically, is their emphasis on critical analysis and testing by observing more clearly measurable or observable astrological correlations, rather than to simply perpetuate observations or assumptions written in historical astrological texts, a problem leading to widespread criticism of mainstream Classical Astrology. Some have speculated that the term "Cosmobiology" was coined specifically to divorce its precepts from the manifold ambiguities of, and subsequent widespread biases against, Classical Astrology.

Three prominent published Cosmobiological authors in the English language are German-American cosmobiologist Eleonora Kimmel, American cosmobiologist Aren Ober (formerly Savalan), and Australian cosmobiologist Doris Greaves, all of whom have published texts in Cosmobiology based on their own substantial experiences.


1. Ebertin acknowledges this in Ebertin 1972 p.11
2. Ebertin acknowledges substantial reference to the earlier work of Alfred Witte in Ebertin 1972, pp.28, although Ebertin differed with Witte on methodological approach.
3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-07. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
• Brau, Jean-Louis: Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology, McGraw-Hill Books, New York USA, 1977.
• Ebertin, Reinhold: Astrological Healing, Samuel Weiser Books, York Beach ME USA, 1989.
• Ebertin, Reinhold: Combination of Stellar Influences, Ebertin-Verlag, Aalen, Germany, 1972.
• Greaves, Doris: Regulus Ebertin Cosmobiology beyond 2000, Regulus Astrological Publications, Red Hill ACT, Australia, 1999.
• Kimmel, Eleonora: Cosmobiology for the 21st Century, American Federation of Astrologers, Tempe AZ USA, 2000.
• Ober, Aren: Midpoint Interpretation Simplified, 2nd Edition, Cotter Books, Cleveland OH USA, 2009.
• Witte, Alfred: Der Mensch, Ludwig Rudolph Verlag, Hamburg, Germany, 1975.
• Witte, Alfred: Regelwerk für Planetenbilder, Ludwig Rudolph Verlag, Hamburg, Germany, 1928.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:34 am

Part 1 of 2

Jean Piaget
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/16/19



Jean Piaget
Piaget at the University of Michigan, c. 1968
Born Jean William Fritz Piaget
9 August 1896
Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Died 16 September 1980 (aged 84)
Geneva, Switzerland
Alma mater University of Neuchâtel
Known for Constructivism, Genevan School, genetic epistemology, theory of cognitive development, object permanence, egocentrism
Scientific career
Fields Developmental psychology, epistemology
Influences Immanuel Kant, Henri Bergson,[1] Pierre Janet, Alfred Binet, Théodore Simon, Sabina Spielrein, James Mark Baldwin[2]
Influenced Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, Bärbel Inhelder,[3][4] Jerome Bruner,[5] Kenneth Kaye,[citation needed] Lawrence Kohlberg,[6] Robert Kegan,[7] Howard Gardner,[8] Thomas Kuhn,[9] Seymour Papert,[10] Lev Vygotsky,[11][12] Jordan Peterson, John Flavell, Yann LeCun[13]

Jean Piaget (UK: /piˈæʒeɪ/,[14][15] US: /ˌpiːəˈʒeɪ, pjɑːˈʒeɪ/,[14][16][17][18] French: [ʒɑ̃ pjaʒɛ]; 9 August 1896 – 16 September 1980) was a Swiss psychologist known for his work on child development. Piaget's theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called "genetic epistemology".

Piaget placed great importance on the education of children. As the Director of the International Bureau of Education, he declared in 1934 that "only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual."[19] His theory of child development is studied in pre-service education programs. Educators continue to incorporate constructivist-based strategies.

Piaget created the International Center for Genetic Epistemology in Geneva in 1955 while on the faculty of the University of Geneva and directed the Center until his death in 1980.[20] The number of collaborations that its founding made possible, and their impact, ultimately led to the Center being referred to in the scholarly literature as "Piaget's factory".[21]

According to Ernst von Glasersfeld, Jean Piaget was "the great pioneer of the constructivist theory of knowing."[22] However, his ideas did not become widely popularized until the 1960s.[23] This then led to the emergence of the study of development as a major sub-discipline in psychology.[24] By the end of the 20th century, Piaget was second only to B. F. Skinner as the most cited psychologist of that era.[25]

Personal life

Piaget was born in 1896 in Neuchâtel, in the Francophone region of Switzerland. He was the oldest son of Arthur Piaget (Swiss), a professor of medieval literature at the University of Neuchâtel, and Rebecca Jackson (French). Piaget was a precocious child who developed an interest in biology and the natural world. His early interest in zoology earned him a reputation among those in the field after he had published several articles on mollusks by the age of 15.[26] When he was 15, his former nanny wrote to his parents to apologize for having once lied to them about fighting off a would-be kidnapper from baby Jean's pram. There never was a kidnapper. Piaget became fascinated that he had somehow formed a memory of this kidnapping incident, a memory that endured even after he understood it to be false.[27]

He developed an interest in epistemology due to his godfather's urgings to study the fields of philosophy and logic.[28] He was educated at the University of Neuchâtel, and studied briefly at the University of Zürich. During this time, he published two philosophical papers that showed the direction of his thinking at the time, but which he later dismissed as adolescent thought.[29] His interest in psychoanalysis, at the time a burgeoning strain of psychology, can also be dated to this period. Piaget moved from Switzerland to Paris, France after his graduation and he taught at the Grange-Aux-Belles Street School for Boys. The school was run by Alfred Binet, the developer of the Binet-Simon test (later revised by Lewis Terman to become the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales). Piaget assisted in the marking of Binet's intelligence tests. It was while he was helping to mark some of these tests that Piaget noticed that young children consistently gave wrong answers to certain questions. Piaget did not focus so much on the fact of the children's answers being wrong, but that young children consistently made types of mistakes that older children and adults did not. This led him to the theory that young children's cognitive processes are inherently different from those of adults. Ultimately, he was to propose a global theory of cognitive developmental stages in which individuals exhibit certain common patterns of cognition in each period of development. In 1921, Piaget returned to Switzerland as director of the Rousseau Institute in Geneva. At this time, the institute was directed by Édouard Claparède.[30] Piaget was familiar with many of Claparède's ideas including that of the psychological concept 'groping' which was closely associated with "trials and errors" observed in human mental patterns.[31]

In 1923, he married Valentine Châtenay (7 January 1899 – 3 July 1983)[32] the couple had three children, whom Piaget studied from infancy. From 1925 to 1929, Piaget worked as a professor of psychology, sociology, and the philosophy of science at the University of Neuchatel.[33] In 1929, Jean Piaget accepted the post of Director of the International Bureau of Education and remained the head of this international organization until 1968. Every year, he drafted his "Director's Speeches" for the IBE Council and for the International Conference on Public Education in which he explicitly addressed his educational credo.

Having taught at the University of Geneva and at the University of Paris, in 1964, Piaget was invited to serve as chief consultant at two conferences at Cornell University (March 11–13) and University of California, Berkeley (March 16–18). The conferences addressed the relationship of cognitive studies and curriculum development and strived to conceive implications of recent investigations of children's cognitive development for curricula.[34]

In 1979 he was awarded the Balzan Prize for Social and Political Sciences. He died in 1980 and was buried with his family in an unmarked grave in the Cimetière des Rois (Cemetery of Kings) in Geneva. This was as per his request.[35]

Career history

Bust of Jean Piaget in the Parc des Bastions, Geneva

Harry Beilin described Jean Piaget's theoretical research program[36] as consisting of four phases:

1. the sociological model of development,
2. the biological model of intellectual development,
3. the elaboration of the logical model of intellectual development,
4. the study of figurative thought.

The resulting theoretical frameworks are sufficiently different from each other that they have been characterized as representing different "Piagets." More recently, Jeremy Burman responded to Beilin and called for the addition of a phase before his turn to psychology: "the zeroeth Piaget."[37]

Piaget before psychology

Before Piaget became a psychologist, he trained in natural history and philosophy. He received a doctorate in 1918 from the University of Neuchâtel. He then undertook post-doctoral training in Zürich (1918–1919), and Paris (1919–1921). He was hired by Théodore Simon to standardize psychometric measures for use with French children in 1919.[38] The theorist we recognize today only emerged when he moved to Geneva, to work for Édouard Claparède as director of research at the Rousseau Institute, in 1922.

Sociological model of development

Piaget first developed as a psychologist in the 1920s. He investigated the hidden side of children's minds. Piaget proposed that children moved from a position of egocentrism to sociocentrism. For this explanation he combined the use of psychological and clinical methods to create what he called a semiclinical interview. He began the interview by asking children standardized questions and depending on how they answered, he would ask them a series of nonstandard questions. Piaget was looking for what he called "spontaneous conviction" so he often asked questions the children neither expected nor anticipated. In his studies, he noticed there was a gradual progression from intuitive to scientific and socially acceptable responses. Piaget theorized children did this because of the social interaction and the challenge to younger children's ideas by the ideas of those children who were more advanced.

This work was used by Elton Mayo as the basis for the famous Hawthorne Experiments.[39][40] For Piaget, it also led to an honorary doctorate from Harvard in 1936.[41]

Biological model of intellectual development

In this stage, Piaget believed that the process of thinking and the intellectual development could be regarded as an extension of the biological process of the adaptation of the species, which has also two on-going processes: assimilation and accommodation. There is assimilation when a child responds to a new event in a way that is consistent with an existing schema.[42] There is accommodation when a child either modifies an existing schema or forms an entirely new schema to deal with a new object or event.[42]

He argued infants were engaging in an act of assimilation when they sucked on everything in their reach. He claimed infants transform all objects into an object to be sucked. The children were assimilating the objects to conform to their own mental structures. Piaget then made the assumption that whenever one transforms the world to meet individual needs or conceptions, one is, in a way, assimilating it. Piaget also observed his children not only assimilating objects to fit their needs, but also modifying some of their mental structures to meet the demands of the environment. This is the second division of adaptation known as accommodation. To start out, the infants only engaged in primarily reflex actions such as sucking, but not long after, they would pick up objects and put them in their mouths. When they do this, they modify their reflex response to accommodate the external objects into reflex actions. Because the two are often in conflict, they provide the impetus for intellectual development. The constant need to balance the two triggers intellectual growth.

To test his theory, Piaget observed the habits in his own children.

Elaboration of the logical model of intellectual development

In the model Piaget developed in stage three, he argued that intelligence develops in a series of stages that are related to age and are progressive because one stage must be accomplished before the next can occur. For each stage of development the child forms a view of reality for that age period. At the next stage, the child must keep up with earlier level of mental abilities to reconstruct concepts. Piaget conceived intellectual development as an upward expanding spiral in which children must constantly reconstruct the ideas formed at earlier levels with new, higher order concepts acquired at the next level.

It is primarily the "Third Piaget" (the logical model of intellectual development) that was debated by American psychologists when Piaget's ideas were "rediscovered" in the 1960s.[43]

Study of figurative thought

Piaget studied areas of intelligence like perception and memory that are not entirely logical. Logical concepts are described as being completely reversible because they can always get back to the starting point, meaning that if one starts with a given premise and follows logical steps to reach a conclusion, the same steps may be done in the opposite order, starting from the conclusion to arrive at the premise. The perceptual concepts Piaget studied could not be manipulated. To describe the figurative process, Piaget uses pictures as examples. Pictures cannot be separated because contours cannot be separated from the forms they outline. Memory is the same way: it is never completely reversible; people cannot necessarily recall all the intervening events between two points. During this last period of work, Piaget and his colleague Inhelder also published books on perception, memory, and other figurative processes such as learning.[44][45]

Because Piaget's theory is based upon biological maturation and stages, the notion of readiness is important. Readiness concerns when certain information or concepts should be taught. According to Piaget's theory, children should not be taught certain concepts until they reached the appropriate stage of cognitive development.[46] For example, young children in the preoperational stage engage in "irreversible" thought and cannot comprehend that an item that has been transformed in some way may be returned to its original state.[47]


Main article: Piaget's theory of cognitive development

Piaget defined himself as a 'genetic' epistemologist, interested in the process of the qualitative development of knowledge. He considered cognitive structures development as a differentiation of biological regulations. When his entire theory first became known – the theory in itself being based on a structuralist and a cognitivitist approach – it was an outstanding and exciting development in regards to the psychological community at that time.[48]

There are a total of four phases in Piaget's research program that included books on certain topics of developmental psychology. In particular, during one period of research, he described himself studying his own three children, and carefully observing and interpreting their cognitive development.[49] In one of his last books, Equilibration of Cognitive Structures: The Central Problem of Intellectual Development, he intends to explain knowledge development as a process of equilibration using two main concepts in his theory, assimilation and accommodation, as belonging not only to biological interactions but also to cognitive ones.

Piaget believed answers for the epistemological questions at his time could be answered, or better proposed, if one looked to the genetic aspect of it, hence his experimentations with children and adolescents. As he says in the introduction of his book Genetic Epistemology: "What the genetic epistemology proposes is discovering the roots of the different varieties of knowledge, since its elementary forms, following to the next levels, including also the scientific knowledge."

The four development stages are described in Piaget's theory as:

1. Sensorimotor stage: from birth to age two. The children experience the world through movement and their senses. During the sensorimotor stage children are extremely egocentric, meaning they cannot perceive the world from others' viewpoints. The sensorimotor stage is divided into six substages:[50]

I. Simple reflexes;
From birth to one month old. At this time infants use reflexes such as rooting and sucking.

II. First habits and primary circular reactions;
From one month to four months old. During this time infants learn to coordinate sensation and two types of schema (habit and circular reactions). A primary circular reaction is when the infant tries to reproduce an event that happened by accident (ex.: sucking thumb).

III. Secondary circular reactions;
From four to eight months old. At this time they become aware of things beyond their own body; they are more object-oriented. At this time they might accidentally shake a rattle and continue to do it for sake of satisfaction.

IV. Coordination of secondary circular reactions;
From eight months to twelve months old. During this stage they can do things intentionally. They can now combine and recombine schemata and try to reach a goal (ex.: use a stick to reach something). They also begin to understand object permanence in the later months and early into the next stage. That is, they understand that objects continue to exist even when they can't see them.

V. Tertiary circular reactions, novelty, and curiosity;
From twelve months old to eighteen months old. During this stage infants explore new possibilities of objects; they try different things to get different results.

VI. Internalization of schemata.

Some followers of Piaget's studies of infancy, such as Kenneth Kaye[51] argue that his contribution was as an observer of countless phenomena not previously described, but that he didn't offer explanation of the processes in real time that cause those developments, beyond analogizing them to broad concepts about biological adaptation generally. Kaye's "apprenticeship theory" of cognitive and social development refuted Piaget's assumption that mind developed endogenously in infants until the capacity for symbolic reasoning allowed them to learn language.

2. Preoperational stage: Piaget's second stage, the pre-operational stage, starts when the child begins to learn to speak at age two and lasts up until the age of seven. During the pre-operational Stage of cognitive development, Piaget noted that children do not yet understand concrete logic and cannot mentally manipulate information. Children's increase in playing and pretending takes place in this stage. However, the child still has trouble seeing things from different points of view. The children's play is mainly categorized by symbolic play and manipulating symbols. Such play is demonstrated by the idea of checkers being snacks, pieces of paper being plates, and a box being a table. Their observations of symbols exemplifies the idea of play with the absence of the actual objects involved. By observing sequences of play, Piaget was able to demonstrate that, towards the end of the second year, a qualitatively new kind of psychological functioning occurs, known as the Pre-operational Stage.[52]

The pre-operational stage is sparse and logically inadequate in regard to mental operations. The child is able to form stable concepts as well as magical beliefs. The child, however, is still not able to perform operations, which are tasks that the child can do mentally, rather than physically. Thinking in this stage is still egocentric, meaning the child has difficulty seeing the viewpoint of others. The Pre-operational Stage is split into two substages: the symbolic function substage, and the intuitive thought substage. The symbolic function substage is when children are able to understand, represent, remember, and picture objects in their mind without having the object in front of them. The intuitive thought substage is when children tend to propose the questions of "why?" and "how come?" This stage is when children want the knowledge of knowing everything.[52]

The Preoperational Stage is divided into two substages:

I. Symbolic Function Substage

From two to four years of age children find themselves using symbols to represent physical models of the world around them. This is demonstrated through a child's drawing of their family in which people are not drawn to scale or accurate physical traits are given. The child knows they are not accurate but it does not seem to be an issue to them.

II. Intuitive Thought Substage

At between about the ages of four and seven, children tend to become very curious and ask many questions, beginning the use of primitive reasoning. There is an emergence in the interest of reasoning and wanting to know why things are the way they are. Piaget called it the "intuitive substage" because children realize they have a vast amount of knowledge, but they are unaware of how they acquired it. Centration, conservation, irreversibility, class inclusion, and transitive inference are all characteristics of preoperative thought.[52]

3. Concrete operational stage: from ages seven to eleven. Children can now conserve and think logically (they understand reversibility) but are limited to what they can physically manipulate. They are no longer egocentric. During this stage, children become more aware of logic and conservation, topics previously foreign to them. Children also improve drastically with their classification skills

4. Formal operational stage: from age eleven to sixteen and onwards (development of abstract reasoning). Children develop abstract thought and can easily conserve and think logically in their mind. Abstract thought is newly present during this stage of development. Children are now able to think abstractly and utilize metacognition. Along with this, the children in the formal operational stage display more skills oriented towards problem solving, often in multiple steps.

Developmental process

Piaget provided no concise description of the development process as a whole. Broadly speaking it consisted of a cycle:

• The child performs an action which has an effect on or organizes objects, and the child is able to note the characteristics of the action and its effects.
• Through repeated actions, perhaps with variations or in different contexts or on different kinds of objects, the child is able to differentiate and integrate its elements and effects. This is the process of "reflecting abstraction" (described in detail in Piaget 2001).
• At the same time, the child is able to identify the properties of objects by the way different kinds of action affect them. This is the process of "empirical abstraction".
• By repeating this process across a wide range of objects and actions, the child establishes a new level of knowledge and insight. This is the process of forming a new "cognitive stage". This dual process allows the child to construct new ways of dealing with objects and new knowledge about objects themselves.
• However, once the child has constructed these new kinds of knowledge, he or she starts to use them to create still more complex objects and to carry out still more complex actions. As a result, the child starts to recognize still more complex patterns and to construct still more complex objects. Thus a new stage begins, which will only be completed when all the child's activity and experience have been re-organized on this still higher level.

This process may not be wholly gradual, but new evidence shows that the passage into new stages is more gradual than once thought. Once a new level of organization, knowledge and insight proves to be effective, it will quickly be generalized to other areas if they exist. As a result, transitions between stages can seem to be rapid and radical, but oftentimes the child has grasped one aspect of the new stage of cognitive functioning but not addressed others. The bulk of the time spent in a new stage consists of refining this new cognitive level; however it does not always happen quickly. For example, a child may see that two different colors of Play-Doh have been fused together to make one ball, based on the color. However, if sugar is mixed into water or iced tea, then the sugar "disappeared" and therefore does not exist to the child at that stage. These levels of one concept of cognitive development are not realized all at once, giving us a gradual realization of the world around us.[53]

It is because this process takes this dialectical form, in which each new stage is created through the further differentiation, integration, and synthesis of new structures out of the old, that the sequence of cognitive stages are logically necessary rather than simply empirically correct. Each new stage emerges only because the child can take for granted the achievements of its predecessors, and yet there are still more sophisticated forms of knowledge and action that are capable of being developed.

Because it covers both how we gain knowledge about objects and our reflections on our own actions, Piaget's model of development explains a number of features of human knowledge that had never previously been accounted for. For example, by showing how children progressively enrich their understanding of things by acting on and reflecting on the effects of their own previous knowledge, they are able to organize their knowledge in increasingly complex structures. Thus, once a young child can consistently and accurately recognize different kinds of animals, he or she then acquires the ability to organize the different kinds into higher groupings such as "birds", "fish", and so on. This is significant because they are now able to know things about a new animal simply on the basis of the fact that it is a bird – for example, that it will lay eggs.

At the same time, by reflecting on their own actions, the child develops an increasingly sophisticated awareness of the "rules" that govern in various ways. For example, it is by this route that Piaget explains this child's growing awareness of notions such as "right", "valid", "necessary", "proper", and so on. In other words, it is through the process of objectification, reflection and abstraction that the child constructs the principles on which action is not only effective or correct but also justified.

One of Piaget's most famous studies focused purely on the discriminative abilities of children between the ages of two and a half years old, and four and a half years old. He began the study by taking children of different ages and placing two lines of sweets, one with the sweets in a line spread further apart, and one with the same number of sweets in a line placed more closely together. He found that, "Children between 2 years, 6 months old and 3 years, 2 months old correctly discriminate the relative number of objects in two rows; between 3 years, 2 months and 4 years, 6 months they indicate a longer row with fewer objects to have "more"; after 4 years, 6 months they again discriminate correctly" (Cognitive Capacity of Very Young Children, p. 141). Initially younger children were not studied, because if at four years old a child could not conserve quantity, then a younger child presumably could not either. The results show however that children that are younger than three years and two months have quantity conservation, but as they get older they lose this quality, and do not recover it until four and a half years old. This attribute may be lost due to a temporary inability to solve because of an overdependence on perceptual strategies, which correlates more candy with a longer line of candy, or due to the inability for a four-year-old to reverse situations.

By the end of this experiment several results were found. First, younger children have a discriminative ability that shows the logical capacity for cognitive operations exists earlier than acknowledged. This study also reveals that young children can be equipped with certain qualities for cognitive operations, depending on how logical the structure of the task is. Research also shows that children develop explicit understanding at age 5 and as a result, the child will count the sweets to decide which has more. Finally the study found that overall quantity conservation is not a basic characteristic of humans' native inheritance.

Genetic epistemology

According to Jean Piaget, genetic epistemology attempts to "explain knowledge, and in particular scientific knowledge, on the basis of its history, its sociogenesis, and especially the psychological origins of the notions and operations upon which it is based". Piaget believed he could test epistemological questions by studying the development of thought and action in children. As a result, Piaget created a field known as genetic epistemology with its own methods and problems. He defined this field as the study of child development as a means of answering epistemological questions.


A Schema is a structured cluster of concepts, it can be used to represent objects, scenarios or sequences of events or relations. The original idea was proposed by philosopher Immanuel Kant as innate structures used to help us perceive the world.[54]

A schema (pl. schemata) is the mental framework that is created as children interact with their physical and social environments.[55] For example, many 3-year-olds insist that the sun is alive because it comes up in the morning and goes down at night. According to Piaget, these children are operating based on a simple cognitive schema that things that move are alive. At any age, children rely on their current cognitive structures to understand the world around them. Moreover, younger and older children may often interpret and respond to the same objects and events in very different ways because cognitive structures take different forms at different ages.[56]

Piaget (1953) described three kinds of intellectual structures: behavioural (or sensorimotor) schemata, symbolic schemata, and operational schemata.

• Behavioural schemata: organized patterns of behaviour that are used to represent and respond to objects and experiences.
• Symbolic schemata: internal mental symbols (such as images or verbal codes) that one uses to represent aspects of experience.
• Operational schemata: internal mental activity that one performs on objects of thought.[57]

According to Piaget, children use the process of assimilation and accommodation to create a schema or mental framework for how they perceive and/or interpret what they are experiencing. As a result, the early concepts of young children tend to be more global or general in nature.[58]

Similarly, Gallagher and Reid (1981) maintained that adults view children's concepts as highly generalized and even inaccurate. With added experience, interactions, and maturity, these concepts become refined and more detailed. Overall, making sense of the world from a child's perspective is a very complex and time-consuming process.[59]

Schemata are:

• Critically important building block of conceptual development
• Constantly in the process of being modified or changed
• Modified by on-going experiences
• A generalized idea, usually based on experience or prior knowledge.[58]

These schemata are constantly being revised and elaborated upon each time the child encounters new experiences. In doing this children create their own unique understanding of the world, interpret their own experiences and knowledge, and subsequently use this knowledge to solve more complex problems. In a neurological sense, the brain/mind is constantly working to build and rebuild itself as it takes in, adapts/modifies new information, and enhances understanding.[58]

Physical microstructure of schemata

In his Biology and Knowledge (1967+ / French 1965), Piaget tentatively hinted at possible physical embodiments for his abstract schema entities. At the time, there was much talk and research about RNA as such an agent of learning, and Piaget considered some of the evidence. However, he did not offer any firm conclusions, and confessed that this was beyond his area of expertise.

One difficulty at that time was that it was generally assumed that nearly all RNA served as mere templates for protein production, and such ideas offered no coherent explanation for Piaget's schema account. However (from 2001 onward), Mattick[60] [2] and others pointed out that, in humans, only about 3% of RNA serves that purpose! — leaving ample stocks of ncRNA available for other tasks (perhaps acting in their own right, rather than as templates). On that new basis, it has now been possible to reverse engineer a seemingly plausible mechanistic framework, based on Piaget's work, accounting for some of the activities of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex etc.[61] Meanwhile it remains to be seen whether this will be consistent with new direct experimental evidence (if indeed such experiments are possible).

Research methods

Piaget wanted to revolutionize the way research was conducted. Although he started researching with his colleagues using a traditional method of data collection, he was not fully satisfied with the results and wanted to keep trying to find new ways of researching using a combination of data, which included naturalistic observation, psychometrics, and the psychiatric clinical examination, in order to have a less guided form of research that would produce more empirically valid results. As Piaget developed new research methods, he wrote a book called The Language and Thought of the Child, which aimed to synthesize the methods he was using in order to study the conclusion children drew from situations and how they arrived to such conclusion. The main idea was to observe how children responded and articulated certain situations with their own reasoning, in order to examine their thought processes (Mayer, 2005).

Piaget administered a test in 15 boys with ages ranging from 10 to 14 years in which he asked participants to describe the relationship between a mixed bouquet of flowers and a bouquet with flowers of the same color. The purpose of this study was to analyze the thinking process the boys had and to draw conclusions about the logic processes they had used, which was a psychometric technique of research. Piaget also used the psychoanalytic method initially developed by Sigmund Freud. The purpose of using such method was to examine the unconscious mind, as well as to continue parallel studies using different research methods. Psychoanalysis was later rejected by Piaget, as he thought it was insufficiently empirical (Mayer, 2005).

Piaget argued that children and adults used speech for different purposes. In order to confirm his argument, he experimented analyzing a child's interpretation of a story. In the experiment, the child listened to a story and then told a friend that same story in his/her/their own words. The purpose of this study was to examine how children verbalize and understand each other without adult intervention. Piaget wanted to examine the limits of naturalistic observation, in order to understand a child's reasoning. He realized the difficulty of studying children's thoughts, as it is hard to know if a child is pretending to believe their thoughts or not. Piaget was the pioneer researcher to examine children's conversations in a social context – starting from examining their speech and actions – where children were comfortable and spontaneous (Kose, 1987).

Issues and possible solutions

After conducting many studies, Piaget was able to find significant differences in the way adults and children reason; however, he was still unable to find the path of logic reasoning and the unspoken thoughts children had, which could allow him to study a child's intellectual development over time (Mayer, 2005). In his third book, The Child's Conception of the World, Piaget recognized the difficulties of his prior techniques and the importance of psychiatric clinical examination. The researcher believed that the way clinical examinations were conducted influenced how a child's inner realities surfaced. Children would likely respond according to the way the research is conducted, the questions asked, or the familiarity they have with the environment. The clinical examination conducted for his third book provides a thorough investigation into a child's thinking process. An example of a question used to research such process was: "Can you see a thought?" (Mayer, 2005, p. 372).

Development of new methods

Piaget recognized that psychometric tests had its limitations, as children were not able to provide the researcher with their deepest thoughts and inner intellect. It was also difficult to know if the results of child examination reflected what children believed or if it is just a pretend situation. For example, it is very difficult to know with certainty if a child who has a conversation with a toy believes the toy is alive or if the child is just pretending. Soon after drawing conclusions about psychometric studies, Piaget started developing the clinical method of examination. The clinical method included questioning a child and carefully examining their responses – in order to observe how the child reasoned according to the questions asked – and then examining the child's perception of the world through their responses. Piaget recognized the difficulties of interviewing a child and the importance of recognizing the difference between "liberated" versus "spontaneous" responses (Mayer, 2005, p. 372).

Criticism of Piaget's research methods

"The developmental theory of Jean Piaget has been criticized on the grounds that it is conceptually limited, empirically false, or philosophically and epistemologically untenable." Piaget responded to criticism by contending that the vast majority of critics did not understand the outcomes he wished to obtain from his research.[62]

As Piaget believed development was a universal process, his initial sample sizes were inadequate, particularly in the formulation of his theory of infant development.[63] Piaget's theories of infant development were based on his observations of his own three children. While this clearly presents problems with the sample size, Piaget also probably introduced confounding variables and social desirability into his observations and his conclusions based on his observations. It is entirely possible Piaget conditioned his children to respond in a desirable manner, so, rather than having an understanding of object permanence, his children might have learned to behave in a manner that indicated they understood object permanence. The sample was also very homogenous, as all three children had a similar genetic heritage and environment. Piaget did, however, have larger sample sizes during his later years.

Development of research methods

Piaget wanted to research in environments that would allow children to connect with some existing aspects of the world. The idea was to change the approach described in his book The Child's Conception of the World and move away from the vague questioning interviews. This new approach was described in his book The Child's Conception of Physical Causality, where children were presented with dilemmas and had to think of possible solutions on their own. Later, after carefully analyzing previous methods, Piaget developed a combination of naturalistic observation with clinical interviewing in his book Judgment and Reasoning in the Child, where a child's intellect was tested with questions and close monitoring. Piaget was convinced he had found a way to analyze and access a child's thoughts about the world in a very effective way (Mayer, 2005). Piaget's research provided a combination of theoretical and practical research methods and it has offered a crucial contribution to the field of developmental psychology (Beilin, 1992). "Piaget is often criticized because his method of investigation, though somewhat modified in recent years, is still largely clinical". He observes a child's surroundings and behavior. He then comes up with a hypothesis testing it and focusing on both the surroundings and behavior after changing a little of the surrounding.[64]


Photo of the Jean Piaget Foundation with Pierre Bovet (1878–1965) first row (with large beard) and Jean Piaget (1896–1980) first row (on the right, with glasses) in front of the Rousseau Institute (Geneva), 1925

Despite his ceasing to be a fashionable psychologist, the magnitude of Piaget's continuing influence can be measured by the global scale and activity of the Jean Piaget Society, which holds annual conferences and attracts around 700 participants.[65] His theory of cognitive development has proved influential in many different areas:

• Developmental psychology
• Education and Morality
• Historical studies of thought and cognition
• Evolution
• Philosophy
• Primatology
• Artificial intelligence (AI)

Developmental psychology

Piaget is the most influential developmental psychologist to date,[62] influencing not only the work of Lev Vygotsky and of Lawrence Kohlberg but whole generations of eminent academics.[clarification needed] Although subjecting his ideas to massive scrutiny led to innumerable improvements and qualifications of his original model and the emergence of a plethora of neo-Piagetian and post-Piagetian variants, Piaget's original model has proved to be remarkably robust.[62]

Piaget on education

By using Piaget's theory, educators focus on their students as learners. As a result of this focus, education is learner-center and constructivist-based to an extent. Piaget's theory allows teachers to view students as individual learners who add new concepts to prior knowledge to construct, or build, understanding for themselves.[66] Teachers who use a learner-centered approach as a basis for their professional practices incorporate the several dispositions.[66] They provide experience-based educational opportunities. These teachers also contemplate the learners’ individual qualities and attitudes during curriculum planning. Educators allow learners’ insights to alter the curriculum. They nourish and support learners’ curiosity. They also involve learners’ emotions and create a learning environment in which students feel safe.[66]

There are two differences between the preoperational and concrete operational stages that apply to education. These differences are reversibility and decentration. At times, reversibility and decentration occur at the same time.[67] When students think about the steps to complete a task without using a particular logical, sequential order, they are using reversibility.[67] Decentration allows them to concentrate on multiple components of a problematic task at a time.[67] Students use both reversibility and decentration to function throughout the school day, follow directions, and complete assignments.

An example of a student using reversibility is when learning new vocabulary. The student creates a list of unfamiliar words from a literary text. Then, he researches the definition of those words before asking classmate to test him. His teacher has given a set of particular instructions that he must follow in a particular order: he must write the word before defining it, and complete these two steps repeatedly.[67] A child in the preoperational stage gets confused during this process and needs assistance from the teacher to stay on task. The teacher refers him back to his text in order to notate the next word before he can define it.[67] A child in the preoperational stage does not understand the organization required to complete this assignment. However, a child in the concrete operational stage understands the organization, and he can recall the steps in any order while being able to follow the order given.[67] Using decentration, the child has the two activities on his mind: identify words and find them in the dictionary.[67]

A sample of decentration is a preschooler may use a toy banana as a pretend telephone. The child knows the difference between the fruit and a phone. However, in this form of play, he is operating on two levels at once.[67] In an older child at the concrete operational level, decentration allows him to complete subtraction of two-digit numbers and indicate which of the problems also involved borrowing from the other column. The student simultaneously does both.[67] Using reversibility, the student has to move mentally between two subtasks.

Regarding the giving of praise by teachers, praise is a reinforcer for students. Adolescents undergo social-emotional development such that they seek rapport with peers. Thus, teacher praise is not as powerful for students who see teachers as authority figures. They give no value to praise provided by adults, or they have no respect for the individual who is giving praise.[68]


During the 1970s and 1980s, Piaget's works also inspired the transformation of European and American education, including both theory and practice, leading to a more ‘child-centered’ approach. In Conversations with Jean Piaget, he says: "Education, for most people, means trying to lead the child to resemble the typical adult of his society ... but for me and no one else, education means making creators... You have to make inventors, innovators—not conformists" (Bringuier, 1980, p. 132).

His theory of cognitive development can be used as a tool in the early childhood classroom. According to Piaget, children developed best in a classroom with interaction.

Piaget defined knowledge as the ability to modify, transform, and "operate on" an object or idea, such that it is understood by the operator through the process of transformation.[69] Learning, then, occurs as a result of experience, both physical and logical, with the objects themselves and how they are acted upon. Thus, knowledge must be assimilated in an active process by a learner with matured mental capacity, so that knowledge can build in complexity by scaffolded understanding. Understanding is scaffolded by the learner through the process of equilibration, whereby the learner balances new knowledge with previous understanding, thereby compensating for "transformation" of knowledge.[69]

Learning, then, can also be supported by instructors in an educational setting. Piaget specified that knowledge cannot truly be formed until the learner has matured the mental structures to which that learning is specific, and thereby development constrains learning. Nevertheless, knowledge can also be "built" by building on simpler operations and structures that have already been formed. Basing operations of an advanced structure on those of simpler structures thus scaffolds learning to build on operational abilities as they develop. Good teaching, then, is built around the operational abilities of the students such that they can excel in their operational stage and build on preexisting structures and abilities and thereby "build" learning.[69]

Evidence of the effectiveness of a contemporary curricular design building on Piaget's theories of developmental progression and the support of maturing mental structures can be seen in Griffin and Case's "Number Worlds" curriculum.[70] The curriculum works toward building a "central conceptual structure" of number sense in young children by building on five instructional processes, including aligning curriculum to the developmental sequencing of acquisition of specific skills. By outlining the developmental sequence of number sense, a conceptual structure is built and aligned to individual children as they develop.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 2 of 2


Piaget believed in two basic principles relating to moral education: that children develop moral ideas in stages and that children create their conceptions of the world. According to Piaget, "the child is someone who constructs his own moral world view, who forms ideas about right and wrong, and fair and unfair, that are not the direct product of adult teaching and that are often maintained in the face of adult wishes to the contrary" (Gallagher, 1978, p. 26). Piaget believed that children made moral judgments based on their own observations of the world.

Piaget's theory of morality was radical when his book The Moral Judgment of the Child was published in 1932 for two reasons: his use of philosophical criteria to define morality (as universalizable, generalizable, and obligatory) and his rejection of equating cultural norms with moral norms. Piaget, drawing on Kantian theory, proposed that morality developed out of peer interaction and that it was autonomous from authority mandates. Peers, not parents, were a key source of moral concepts such as equality, reciprocity, and justice.

Piaget attributed different types of psychosocial processes to different forms of social relationships, introducing a fundamental distinction between different types of said relationships. Where there is constraint because one participant holds more power than the other the relationship is asymmetrical, and, importantly, the knowledge that can be acquired by the dominated participant takes on a fixed and inflexible form. Piaget refers to this process as one of social transmission, illustrating it through reference to the way in which the elders of a tribe initiate younger members into the patterns of beliefs and practices of the group. Similarly, where adults exercise a dominating influence over the growing child, it is through social transmission that children can acquire knowledge. By contrast, in cooperative relations, power is more evenly distributed between participants so that a more symmetrical relationship emerges. Under these conditions, authentic forms of intellectual exchange become possible; each partner has the freedom to project his or her own thoughts, consider the positions of others, and defend his or her own point of view. In such circumstances, where children's thinking is not limited by a dominant influence, Piaget believed "the reconstruction of knowledge", or favorable conditions for the emergence of constructive solutions to problems, exists. Here the knowledge that emerges is open, flexible and regulated by the logic of argument rather than being determined by an external authority.

In short, cooperative relations provide the arena for the emergence of operations, which for Piaget requires the absence of any constraining influence, and is most often illustrated by the relations that form between peers (for more on the importance of this distinction see Duveen & Psaltis, 2008; Psaltis & Duveen, 2006, 2007). This is thus how, according to Piaget, children learn moral judgement as opposed to cultural norms (or maybe ideological norms).

Historical studies of thought and cognition

Historical changes of thought have been modeled in Piagetian terms. Broadly speaking these models have mapped changes in morality, intellectual life and cognitive levels against historical changes (typically in the complexity of social systems).

Notable examples include:

• Michael Horace Barnes' study of the co-evolution of religious and scientific thinking[71]
• Peter Damerow's theory of prehistoric and archaic thought[72]
• Kieran Egan's stages of understanding[73]
• James W. Fowler's stages of faith development
• Suzi Gablik's stages of art history[74]
• Christopher Hallpike's studies of changes in cognition and moral judgment in pre-historical, archaic and classical periods ... (Hallpike 1979, 2004)
• Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development
• Don Lepan's theory of the origins of modern thought and drama[75]
• Charles Radding's theory of the medieval intellectual development[76]
• Jürgen Habermas's reworking of historical materialism.

Non-human development

Neo-Piagetian stages have been applied to the maximum stage attained by various animals. For example, spiders attain the circular sensory motor stage, coordinating actions and perceptions. Pigeons attain the sensory motor stage, forming concepts.[citation needed]


The origins of human intelligence have also been studied in Piagetian terms. Wynn (1979, 1981) analysed Acheulian and Oldowan tools in terms of the insight into spatial relationships required to create each kind. On a more general level, Robinson's Birth of Reason (2005) suggests a large-scale model for the emergence of a Piagetian intelligence.


Piaget's models of cognition have also been applied outside the human sphere, and some primatologists assess the development and abilities of primates in terms of Piaget's model.[77]


Philosophers have used Piaget's work. For example, the philosopher and social theorist Jürgen Habermas has incorporated Piaget into his work, most notably in The Theory of Communicative Action. The philosopher Thomas Kuhn credited Piaget's work with helping him to understand the transition between modes of thought which characterized his theory of paradigm shifts.[78] Yet, that said, it is also noted that the implications of his later work do indeed remain largely unexamined.[79] Shortly before his death (September 1980), Piaget was involved in a debate about the relationships between innate and acquired features of language, at the Centre Royaumont pour une Science de l'Homme, where he discussed his point of view with the linguist Noam Chomsky as well as Hilary Putnam and Stephen Toulmin.

Artificial intelligence

Piaget also had a considerable effect in the field of computer science and artificial intelligence. Seymour Papert used Piaget's work while developing the Logo programming language. Alan Kay used Piaget's theories as the basis for the Dynabook programming system concept, which was first discussed within the confines of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC). These discussions led to the development of the Alto prototype, which explored for the first time all the elements of the graphical user interface (GUI), and influenced the creation of user interfaces in the 1980s and beyond.[80]


Piaget's theory, however vital in understanding child psychology, did not go without scrutiny. A main figure whose ideas contradicted Piaget's ideas was the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky stressed the importance of a child's cultural background as an effect to the stages of development. Because different cultures stress different social interactions, this challenged Piaget's theory that the hierarchy of learning development had to develop in succession. Vygotsky introduced the term Zone of proximal development as an overall task a child would have to develop that would be too difficult to develop alone.

Also, the so-called neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development maintained that Piaget's theory does not do justice either to the underlying mechanisms of information processing that explain transition from stage to stage or individual differences in cognitive development. According to these theories, changes in information processing mechanisms, such as speed of processing and working memory, are responsible for ascension from stage to stage. Moreover, differences between individuals in these processes explain why some individuals develop faster than other individuals (Demetriou, 1998).

Over time, alternative theories of Child Development have been put forward, and empirical findings have done a lot to undermine Piaget's theories. For example, Esther Thelen and colleagues[81] found that babies would not make the A-not-B error if they had small weights added to their arms during the first phase of the experiment that were then removed before the second phase of the experiment. This minor change should not impact babies' understanding of object permanence, so the difference that this makes to babies' performance on the A-not-B task cannot be explained by Piagetian theory. Thelen and colleagues also found that various other factors also influenced performance on the A-not-B task (including strength of memory trace, salience of targets, waiting time and stance), and proposed that this could be better explained using a dynamic systems theory approach than using Piagetian theory. Alison Gopnik and Betty Repacholi[82] found that babies as young as 18 months old can understand that other people have desires, and that these desires could be very different from their own desires. This strongly contradicts Piaget's view that children are very egocentric at this age. In reaction to these challenges, it has been argued that their criticisms depend on a fundamental misreading of Piaget's theory.[62]

See also Brian Rotman's Jean Piaget: Psychologist of the Real, an exposition and critique of Piaget's ideas, and Jonathan Tudge and Barbara Rogoff's "Peer influences on cognitive development: Piagetian and Vygotskian perspectives".[83]


• "Intelligence organizes the world by organizing itself."[84]

List of major achievements


• 1921–25 Research Director (Chef des travaux), Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Geneva
• 1925–29 Professor of Psychology, Sociology and the Philosophy of Science, University of Neuchatel
• 1929–39 Professeur extraordinaire of the History of Scientific Thought, University of Geneva
• 1929–67 Director, International Bureau of Education, Geneva
• 1932–71 Director, Institute of Educational Sciences, University of Geneva
• 1938–51 Professor of Experimental Psychology and Sociology, University of Lausanne
• 1939–51 Professor of Sociology, University of Geneva
• 1940–71 Professeur ordinaire of Experimental Psychology, University of Geneva
• 1952–64 Professor of Genetic Psychology, Sorbonne, Paris
• 1954–57 President, International Union of Scientific Psychology
• 1955–80 Director, International Centre for Genetic Epistemology, Geneva
• 1971–80 Emeritus Professor, University of Geneva

Honorary doctorates

• 1936 Harvard
• 1946 Sorbonne
• 1949 University of Brazil
• 1949 Bruxelles
• 1953 Chicago
• 1954 McGill
• 1958 Warsaw
• 1959 Manchester
• 1960 Oslo
• 1960 Cambridge
• 1962 Brandeis
• 1964 Montreal
• 1964 Aix-Marseille
• 1966 Pennsylvania[85]
• 1966? Barcelona[86]
• 1970 Yale[87]

List of major works

The following groupings are based on the number of citations in Google Scholar.


• The Language and Thought of the Child (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1926) [Le Langage et la pensée chez l'enfant (1923)]
• The Child's Conception of the World (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1928) [La Représentation du monde chez l'enfant (1926, orig. pub. as an article, 1925)]
• The Moral Judgment of the Child (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1932) [Le jugement moral chez l'enfant (1932)]
• The Origins of Intelligence in Children (New York: International University Press, 1952) [La naissance de l'intelligence chez l'enfant (1936), also translated as The Origin of Intelligence in the Child (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953)].
• Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood (New York: Norton, 1962) [La formation du symbole chez l'enfant; imitation, jeu et reve, image et représentation (1945)].
• The Psychology of Intelligence (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1950) [La psychologie de l'intelligence (1947)].
• The construction of reality in the child (New York: Basic Books, 1954) [La construction du réel chez l'enfant (1950), also translated as The Child's Construction of Reality (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1955)].
• With Inhelder, B., The Growth of Logical Thinking from Childhood to Adolescence (New York: Basic Books, 1958) [De la logique de l'enfant à la logique de l'adolescent (1955)].
• With Inhelder, B., The Psychology of the Child (New York: Basic Books, 1962) [La psychologie de l'enfant (1966, orig. pub. as an article, 1950)].

Major works

• The early growth of logic in the child (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964) [La genèse des structures logiques elementaires (1959)].
• With Inhelder, B., The Child's Conception of Space (New York: W.W. Norton, 1967).
• "Piaget's theory" in P. Mussen (ed.), Handbook of Child Psychology, Vol. 1. (4th ed., New York: Wiley, 1983).
• The Child's Conception of Number (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1952) [La genèse du nombre chez l'enfant (1941)].
• Structuralism (New York: Harper & Row, 1970) [Le Structuralisme (1968)].
• Genetic epistemology (New York: W.W. Norton, 1971, ISBN 978-0-393-00596-7).

Significant works

• The child's conception of physical causality (London: Kegan Paul, 1930) [La causalite physique chez l'enfant (1927)]
• Child's Conception of Geometry (New York, Basic Books, 1960) [La Géométrie spontanée de l'enfant (1948)].
• The Principles of Genetic Epistemology (New York: Basic Books, 1972, ISBN 978-0-393-00596-7) [L'épistémologie génétique (1950)].
• To understand is to invent: The future of education (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973) [tr. of Ou va l'education (1971) and Le droit a l'education dans le monde actuel (1948)].
• Six psychological studies (New York: Random House, 1967) [Six études de psychologie (1964)].
• Biology and Knowledge (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971) [Biologie et connaissance; essai sur les relations entre les régulations organiques et les processus cognitifs (1967)]
• Science of education and the psychology of the child (New York: Orion Press, 1970) [Psychologie et pédagogie (1969)].
• Intellectual evolution from adolescence to adulthood (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1977) [L'evolution intellectuelle entre l'adolescence et l'age adulte(1970)].
• The Equilibration of Cognitive Structures: The Central Problem of Intellectual Development (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985) [L'equilibration des structures cognitives (1975), previously translated as The development of thought: Equilibration of cognitive structures (1977)].
• Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (ed.), Language and learning: the debate between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980) [Theories du language, theories de l'apprentissage (1979)].
• Development and learning.

Notable works

• The Grasp of Consciousness: Action and concept in the young child (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977) [La prise de conscience (1974)].
• The Mechanisms of Perception (New York: Basic Books, 1969) [Les mécanismes perceptifs: modèles probabilistes, analyse génétique, relations avec l'intelligence(1961)].
• Psychology and Epistemology: Towards a Theory of Knowledge (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972) [Psychologie et epistémologie (1970).
• The Child's Conception of Time (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969) [Le développement de la notion de temps chez l'enfant (1946)]
• Logic and Psychology (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1953).
• Memory and intelligence (New York: Basic Books, 1973) [Memoire et intelligence (1968)]
• The Origin of the Idea of Chance in Children (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975) [La genèse de l'idée de hasard chez l'enfant (1951)].
• Mental imagery in the child: a study of the development of imaginal representation (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1971) [L'image mentale chez l'enfant : études sur le développement des représentations imaginées (1966)].
• Intelligence and Affectivity. Their Relationship during Child Development (Palo Alto: Annual Reviews, 1981) [Les relations entre l'intelligence et l'affectivité dans le développement de l'enfant (1954)].
• With Garcia, R. Psychogenesis and the History of Science (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989) Psychogenèse et histoire des sciences (1983).
• With Beth, E. W.,Mathematical Epistemology and Psychology (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1966) [Épistémologie mathématique et psychologie: Essai sur les relations entre la logique formelle et la pensée réelle] (1961).

New translations

• Piaget, J. (1995). Sociological Studies. London: Routledge.
• Piaget, J. (2000). "Commentary on Vygotsky". New Ideas in Psychology. 18 (2–3): 241–59. doi:10.1016/S0732-118X(00)00012-X.
• Piaget, J. (2001). Studies in Reflecting Abstraction. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

See also

• Active learning
• Cognitive acceleration
• Cognitivism (learning theory)
• Constructivist epistemology
• Developmental psychology
• Fluid and crystallized intelligence
• Horizontal and vertical décalage
• Inquiry-based learning
• Kohlberg's stages of moral development
• Psychosocial development
• Religious development
• Water-level task


• Edith Ackermann
• Leo Apostel
• Edgar Ascher
• Evert Beth
• Magali Bovet
• Guy Cellérier
• Paul Fraisse
• Rolando García
• Pierre Gréco
• Jean-Blaise Grize
• Gil Henriques
• Bärbel Inhelder
• Benoit Mandelbrot
• Albert Morf
• Pierre Oléron
• Seymour Papert
• Maurice Reuchlin
• Hermina Sinclair de-Zwart
• Alina Szeminska
• Huê Vinh-Bang


• Eleanor Duckworth
• Wolfe Mays


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76. Radding, Charles (1985). A world made by men: cognition and society, 400–1200. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-1664-6.
77. McKinney, Michael L.; Parker, Sue Taylor (1999). Origins of intelligence: the evolution of cognitive development in monkeys, apes, and humans. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-6012-6.
78. Burman, J. T. (2007). "Piaget No 'Remedy' for Kuhn, But the Two Should be Read Together: Comment on Tsou's 'Piaget vs. Kuhn on Scientific Progress'". Theory & Psychology. 17 (5): 721–732. doi:10.1177/0959354307079306.
79. Burman, J. T. (2008). "Experimenting in relation to Piaget: Education is a chaperoned process of adaptation". Perspectives on Science. 16 (2): 160–195. doi:10.1162/posc.2008.16.2.160.
80. Drescher, Gary (1991). Made-Up Minds: A Constructivist Approach to Artificial Intelligence. Boston: MIT Press. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-262-04120-1.
81. Spencer, J. P.; Clearfield, M.; Corbetta, D.; Ulrich, B.; Buchanan, P.; Schöner, G. (2006). "Moving Toward a Grand Theory of Development: In Memory of Esther Thelen". Child Development. 77 (6): 1521–1538. CiteSeerX doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2006.00955.x. PMID 17107442.
82. Repacholi, Betty; Alison Gopnik (1997). "Early reasoning about desires: Evidence from 14- and 18-month-olds". Developmental Psychology. 3: 12–21. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.33.1.12.
83. Tudge, Jonathan; Barbara Rogoff (1998). "Peer influences on cognitive development: Piagetian and Vygotskian perspectives". In Peter Lloyd; Charles Fernyhough (eds.). Lev Vygotsky: Critical Assessments, Volume 3. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-11154-6.
84. Piaget, Jean (1954 [1937]) The Construction of Reality in the Child. pp. 354–5. ISBN 0415210003
85. The list is certain only to 1966. The source is p. xviii of F. Bresson & M. de Montmollin, 1966, Psychologie et épistémologie génétique: thèmes Piagétiens (Hommage à Jean Piaget avec une bibliographie complète de ses oeuvres). Paris: Dunod. (Note: This list provides "Varsovie" instead of Warsaw, as this is the French name for the capital of Poland.)
86. Reported in 1971, in Anuario de psicología, as part of the proceedings of a celebration of Piaget's 70th birthday,
87. Kessen, W (1996). "American Psychology just before Piaget". Psychological Science. 7 (4): 196–199. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.1996.tb00358.x. JSTOR 40062944.


• Aqueci, F. (2003). Ordine e trasformazione: morale, mente, discorso in Piaget. Acireale-Roma: Bonanno. ISBN 88-7796-148-1.
• Amann-Gainotti, M.; Ducret, J.-J. (1992). "Jean Piaget, disciple of Pierre Janet: Influence of behavior psychology and relations with psychoanalysis". Information Psychiatrique. 68: 598–606.
• Beilin, H. (1992). "Piaget's enduring contribution to developmental psychology". Developmental Psychology. 28 (2): 191–204. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.28.2.191.
• Beilin, H. (1994). Jean Piaget's enduring contribution to developmental psychology. A century of developmental psychology (pp. 257–290). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association.
• Bringuier, J.-C. (1980). Conversations with Jean Piaget (B.M. Gulati, Trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published 1977) ISBN 0-226-07503-6.
• Chapman, M. (1988). Constructive evolution: Origins and development of Piaget's thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36712-3.
• Demetriou, A. (1998). Cognitive development. In A. Demetriou, W. Doise, K. F. M. van Lieshout (Eds.), Life-span developmental psychology (pp. 179–269). London: Wiley.
• Demetriou, A., Mouyi, A., & Spanoudis, G. (2010). The development of mental processing. Nesselroade, J. R. (2010). Methods in the study of life-span human development: Issues and answers. In W. F. Overton (Ed.), Biology, cognition and methods across the life-span. Volume 1 of the Handbook of life-span development (pp. 36–55), Editor-in-chief: R. M. Lerner. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
• Duveen, G. & Psaltis, C. (2008). The constructive role of asymmetries in social interaction. In U. Mueller, J. I. M. Carpendale, N. Budwig & B. Sokol (Eds.), Social life and social knowledge: Toward a process account of development. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
• Flavell, J. (1967). The developmental psychology of Jean Piaget. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company. ISBN 0-442-02413-4.
• Fowler, J. W. (1981). Stages of faith: The psychology of human development and the quest for meaning. San Francisco: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-062866-9.
• Gattico, E. (2001). Jean Piaget. Milano: Bruno Mondadori. ISBN 88-424-9741-X.
• Hallpike, C.R. (1979). The foundations of primitive thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-823196-2.
• Ivey, A. (1986). Developmental therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 1-55542-022-2.
• Kamii, C. (1985). Young children reinvent arithmetic: Implications of Piaget's theory. New York: Teachers College Press.
• Kesselring, T. (1999). Jean Piaget. München: Beck. ISBN 3-406-44512-8.
• Kassotakis, M. & Flouris, G. (2006) Μάθηση & Διδασκαλία, Αthens.
• Kitchener, R. (1986). Piaget's theory of knowledge: Genetic epistemology & scientific reason. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03579-9.
• Kose, G. (1987). "A philosopher's conception of Piaget: Piagetian theory reconsidered". Theoretical & Philosophical Psychology. 7 (1): 52–57. doi:10.1037/h0091442.
CUNY pdf
• Mayer, S. (2005). "The early evolution of Jean Piaget's clinical method". History of Psychology. 8 (4): 362–382. doi:10.1037/1093-4510.8.4.362. PMID 17152748.
• Messerly, J.G. (1992). Piaget's conception of evolution: Beyond Darwin and Lamarck. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8476-8243-9.
• Psaltis, C.; Duveen, G. (2006). "Social relations and cognitive development: The influence of conversation type and representations of gender". European Journal of Social Psychology. 36 (3): 407–430. doi:10.1002/ejsp.308.
• Psaltis, C.; Duveen, G. (2007). "Conversation types and conservation: Forms of recognition and cognitive development". British Journal of Developmental Psychology. 25 (1): 79–102. doi:10.1348/026151005X91415.
• Robinson, R.J. (2005). The birth of reason. Prometheus Research Group. (Available online at
• Smith, L. (Ed.) (1992). Jean Piaget: Critical assessments (4 Vols.). London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-04408-1.
• Smith, L. (1993). Necessary knowledge: Piagetian perspectives on constructivism. Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum. ISBN 0-86377-270-6.
• Smith, L. (Ed.) (1996). Critical readings on Piaget. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-13317-3.
• Smith, L. (2001). Jean Piaget. In J. A. Palmer (Ed.), 50 modern thinkers on education: From Piaget to the present. London: Routledge.
• Traill, R.R. (2000) Physics and Philosophy of the Mind. Melbourne: Ondwelle. ISBN 0-9577737-1-4
• Traill, R.R. (2005a) ........ . Melbourne: Ondwelle.
• Traill, R.R. (2005b / 2008) Thinking by Molecule, Synapse, or both? — From Piaget's Schema, to the Selecting/Editing of ncRNA. Melbourne: Ondwelle. [Also in French:
• Vidal, F. (1994). Piaget before Piaget. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-66716-6.
• Vonèche, J.J. (1985). Genetic epistemology: Piaget's theory. In T. Husén & T.N. Postlethwaite (Eds.-in-chief), International encyclopedia of education (Vol. 4). Oxford: Pergamon.
• Wynn, T. (1979). "The intelligence of later Acheulean hominids". Man. New Series. 14 (3): 371–391. doi:10.2307/2801865. JSTOR 2801865.
• Wynn, T. (1981). "The intelligence of Oldowan hominids". Journal of Human Evolution. 10 (7): 529–541. doi:10.1016/S0047-2484(81)80046-2.

Further reading

Piaget inspired innumerable studies and even new areas of inquiry. The following is a list of critiques and commentaries, organized using the same citation-based method as the list of his own major works (above). These represent the significant and influential post-Piagetian writings in their respective sub-disciplines.


• Vygotsky, L. (1963). Thought and language. [12630 citations]


• Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. [4089]
• Minsky, M. (1988). The society of mind. [3950]
• Kohlberg, L. (1969). Stage And Sequence: The Cognitive-Developmental Approach To Socialization. [3118]
• Flavell, J. (1963). The developmental psychology of Jean Piaget. [2333] [The development of the project that became this book, and its impact, is discussed in detail by Müller, U.; Burman, J. T.; Hutchison, S. M. (2013). "The developmental psychology of Jean Piaget: A quinquagenary retrospective". Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 34 (1): 52–55. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2012.10.001. ISSN 0193-3973.]
• Gibson, E. J. (1973). Principles of perceptual learning and development. [1903]
• Hunt, J. McV. (1961). Intelligence and Experience. [617+395+384+111+167+32=1706]
• Meltzoff, A. N. & Moore, M. K. (1977). Imitation of facial and manual gestures by human neonates. [1497]
• Case, R. (1985). Intellectual development: Birth to adulthood. [1456]
• Fischer, K. W. (1980). A theory of cognitive development: The control and construction of hierarchies of skills. [1001]

Major works

• Bates, E. (1976). Language and context: The acquisition of pragmatics. [959]
• Ginsburg, H. P. & Opper, S. (1969). Piaget's theory of intellectual development. [931]
• Singley, M. K. & Anderson, J. R. (1989). The transfer of cognitive skill. [836]
• Duckworth, E. (1973). The having of wonderful ideas. [775]
• Youniss, J. (1982). Parents and peers in social development: A Sullivan-Piaget perspective. [763]
• Pascual-Leone, J. (1970). A mathematical model for the transition rule in Piaget's developmental stages. [563]
• Schaffer, H. R. & Emerson, P. E. (1964). The development of social attachments in infancy. [535]

Works of significance

• Shatz, M.; Gelman, R. (1973). "The Development of Communication Skills: Modifications in the Speech of Young Children as a Function of Listener". Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. 38 (5): 1–37. doi:10.2307/1165783. JSTOR 1165783. [470]
• Broke, H (1971). "Interpersonal perception of young children: Egocentrism or Empathy?". Developmental Psychology. 5 (2): 263–269. doi:10.1037/h0031267.[469]
• Wadsworth, B. J. (1989). Piaget's theory of cognitive and affective development [421]
• Karmiloff-Smith, A. (1992). Beyond Modularity. [419]
• Bodner, G. M. (1986). Constructivism: A theory of knowledge. [403]
• Shantz, C. U. (1975). The Development of Social Cognition. [387]
• Diamond, A.; Goldman-Rakic, P. S. (1989). "Comparison of human infants and rhesus monkeys on Piaget's AB task: evidence for dependence on dorsolateral prefrontal cortex". Experimental Brain Research. 74 (1): 24–40. doi:10.1007/bf00248277. PMID 2924839. [370]
• Gruber, H. & Voneche, H. (1982). The Essential Piaget. [348]
• Walkerdine, V. (1984). Developmental psychology and the child-centred pedagogy: The insertion of Piaget into early education. [338]
• Kamii, C. & DeClark, G. (1985). Young children reinvent arithmetic: Implications of Piaget's theory [335]
• Riegel, K. F. (1973). Dialectic operations: The final period of cognitive development [316]
• Bandura, A.; McDonald, F. J. (1963). "Influence of social reinforcement and the behavior of models in shaping children's moral judgment". Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 67 (3): 274–281. doi:10.1037/h0044714. [314]
• Karplus, R. (1980). Teaching for the development of reasoning. [312]
• Brainerd, C. (1978). The stage question in cognitive-developmental theory. [311]
• Brainerd, C. (1978). Piaget's theory of intelligence. [292]
• Gilligan, C. (1997). Moral orientation and moral development [285]
• Diamond, A. (1991). Neuropsychological insights into the meaning of object concept development [284]
• Braine, M. D. S., & Rumain, B. (1983). Logical reasoning. [276]
• John-Steiner, V. (2000). Creative collaboration. [266]
• Pascual-Leone, J. (1987). Organismic processes for neo-Piagetian theories: A dialectical causal account of cognitive development. [261]
• Hallpike, C. R. (1979). The foundations of primitive thought [261]
• Furth, H. (1969). Piaget and Knowledge [261]
• Gelman, R. & Baillargeon, R. (1983). A review of some Piagetian concepts. [260]
• O'Loughlin, M. (1992). Rethinking science education: Beyond piagetian constructivism. Toward a sociocultural model of teaching and learning. [252]
• Messerly, John G. (1996). "Psychogenesis and the History of Science: Piaget and the Problem of Scientific Change", The Modern Schoolman LXXIII, 295–307.

External links

• Publications by and about Jean Piaget in the catalogue Helveticat of the Swiss National Library
Jean Piagetat Wikipedia's sister projects
• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• News from Wikinews
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Jean Piaget Society, society for the study of knowledge and development.
• The Jean Piaget Archives, with full bibliography.
• Interview with Jean Piaget and Bärbel Inhelder by Elizabeth Hall (1970).
• Jean Piaget @ Teaching & Learning Developmental Psychology, Piaget as a scientist with resources for classes.
• Jean Piaget's Genetic Epistemology: Appreciation and Critique by Robert Campbell (2002), extensive summary of work and biography.
• Piaget's The Language and Thought of the Child (1926) – a brief introduction
• The Moral Judgment of the Child by Jean Piaget (1932)
• The Construction of Reality in the Child by Jean Piaget (1955)
• Piaget's role in the International Bureau of Education and the International Conference on Education
• Genetic Epistemology by Jean Piaget (1968)
• Comments on Vygotsky by Jean Piaget (1962)
• Piaget's Developmental Theory: An Overview – Part 1 on YouTube, a 27-minute documentary film used primarily in higher education.
• Piaget's Developmental Theory: An Overview – Part 2 on YouTube, a 27-minute documentary film used primarily in higher education.
• Foundation Jean Piaget for research in psychology and epistemology – French version only – diffuse to the world community writings and talks of the Swiss scientist.
• Human Nervous System model in accordance with Piaget's Learning Theory – French version only
• Jean Piaget and Neuchâtel The site is maintained by the Institute of Psychology and Education, Neuchâtel University
• Jean Piaget's 1931 essay "The Spirit of Solidarity in Children and International Cooperation" (re-published in the Spring 2011 issue of Schools: Studies in Education)
• Jean Piaget: A Most Outrageous Deception by Webster R. Callaway
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:47 am

Ovide Decroly
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/16/19



Jean-Ovide Decroly
Ovide Decroly (1871-1932).jpg
Born July 23, 1871
Died September 10, 1932
Nationality Belgian
Occupation Teacher and psychologist

Jean-Ovide Decroly (Ronse, July 23, 1871 – Ukkel, September 10, 1932) was a Belgian teacher and psychologist.

He studied medicine at the University of Ghent, with half a year at the University of Berlin where he studied the action of toxins and antitoxins on general nutrition in 1898. He later worked with (mentally) handicapped children at the neurological clinic in Brussels.

Decroly founded The Hermitage School in 1907. He was a freemason, and a member of the lodge Les Amis Philanthropes of the Grand Orient of Belgium in Brussels. Nowadays the "Ecole Decroly" (based in Uccle, Brussels, a school reaching from kindergarten to baccalaureate) is following his pedagogical approach.

The Decroly plan

The "Decroly plan" lays ground rules for social adaptation of a biological organism, in the concrete case, children. It concludes that schooling is needed for children to meet their "biosocial needs". Followers of Decroly have gone on to create and start schools that primarily focus on these "biosocial needs", and better augment the student's educational experience. These visionary teachers include such people as Yomila Aguirre, Fannael Harrison and Catherine Gavin, who have founded prestigious schools such as Out-of-Door Academy.


• To educate in its fullest sense is to create conditions in which the child can live - and is led by these conditions led to live-as fully as possible through each succeeding stage of his development, meeting and solving in his own experience the problems of each stage as it comes, and so gaining the power to meet and to solve the problems that await him in further stages. Such conditions it is for a school to provide. (Decroly cited by J.H. Badley, Dr. Ovide Decroly ed. Albert Decordier, Amicale Rijksbasisonderwijs, Ronse, Belgium)

External links

• Works by or about Ovide Decroly at Internet Archive
• Ovide Decroly on IMDb
• Biography
• Ecoledecroly in Uccle (Brussels)
• Ovide Decroly, A hero of education, Van Gorp
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:07 am

Part 1 of 2

Henri Bergson
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/17/19

Notes on Recent Books: The Progress of Eugenics. By Caleb Williams Saleeby, M.D. Funk & Wagnalls Co., New York and London. 8vo, 459 pp. Price, $1.50 net.

Of all the current writers on the new science of Eugenics, Dr. Saleeby easily ranks first in the rare combination of scientific knowledge, humanitarian breadth and enthusiasm, and power of popular exposition. This is not the first book that has come from his hand which is likely to become a classic for a very large circle of readers. His Parenthood and Race Culture has won a numerous body of readers here in the United States, and now this book will be welcomed by all these as a further exposition of the subjects he so ably treats and a clarion call to larger privileges and duties in the great era of racial regeneration that is just being ushered in.

Dr. Saleeby’s dedication of this book to the French philosopher Henri Bergson strikes the keynote of the work. Herein he refers to eugenics as creative evolution become self-conscious. A more accurate and more stimulating conception it would be difficult to formulate. Bergson’s work “Creative Evolution” has thrilled the modern world with a new sense of the grandeur of life and man’s own part in the process. And now Saleeby’s conception of the control of life through the intelligence and conscience that eugenics would supply, as the conscious participation in the creation-process, rounds out the massive enterprise that humanity is now prepared to contemplate.

The book is in four parts, and has the following chapter-headings: The People Called Eugenists, Nature and Nurture, The Rights of Mothers, The Care of Infancy and the Home Child, Real Education – a Soldier to the Rescue, Adolescence and Eugenic Education, The Homing Problem; The National Birth-rate Commission, The Foundations of Eugenics; Positive Eugenics – the Encouragement of Worthy Parenthood, Negative Eugenics – the Discouragement of Unworthy Parenthood, Preventive Eugenics and the Racial Poisons; The Eastward Window. All these chapters, as their titles suggest, are bristling with facts, acute interpretative insight, and eager application to human needs. When one reads such a book, he wonders how so many, even among religious leaders, can sneer at eugenics and oppose its popular advance.

-- The Homiletic Review: An International Magazine of Religion, Theology, and Philosophy Treats Every Phase of the Minister’s Work, Volume 68, From July to December, 1914.

Henri Bergson
Bergson in 1927
Born Henri-Louis Bergson
18 October 1859
Paris, France
Died 4 January 1941 (aged 81)
Paris, France
Alma mater
École Normale Supérieure
University of Paris
Notable work
Time and Free Will (1889)
Matter and Memory (1896)
Creative Evolution (1907)
Spouse(s) Louise Neuberger (m. 1891)
Awards Nobel Prize in Literature (1927)
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
Continental philosophyFrench spiritualismphilosophy of life[1]
Institutions Collège de France
Main interests
Metaphysicsepistemologyphilosophy of languagephilosophy of mathematicsstudies of immediate experience
Notable ideas
Durationintuitionaffectionélan vitalopen society
Influences: Spinoza[2][3]Immanuel KantArthur SchopenhauerWilliam JamesCharles DarwinFélix Ravaisson-MollienHerbert SpencerGottfried Wilhelm LeibnizMaine de BiranPlotinus[4]
Influenced: Michel AflaqÉmile BréhierGuy DebordGilles DeleuzeMuhammad IqbalJawaharlal NehruVladimir JankélévitchNikos KazantzakisNecip Fazıl KısakürekÉdouard Le RoyEmmanuel LevinasGabriel MarcelJacques MaritainMaurice Merleau-PontyEmmanuel Mounier[5]Jean-Paul SartreMarcel ProustAlfred SchützLiang ShumingAnna-Teresa TymienieckaAlfred North Whitehead

Henri-Louis Bergson (French: [bɛʁksɔn]; 18 October 1859 – 4 January 1941) was a French-Jewish philosopher who was influential in the tradition of continental philosophy, especially during the first half of the 20th century until the Second World War.[6] Bergson is known for his arguments that processes of immediate experience and intuition are more significant than abstract rationalism and science for understanding reality.

He was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented".[7] In 1930 France awarded him its highest honour, the Grand-Croix de la Legion d'honneur.

Bergson's great popularity created a controversy in France where his views were seen as opposing the secular and scientific attitude adopted by the Republic's officials.[8]



Bergson was born in the Rue Lamartine in Paris, not far from the Palais Garnier (the old Paris opera house) in 1859. His father, the pianist Michał Bergson, was of a Polish Jewish background (originally bearing the name Bereksohn). His great-grandmother, Temerl Bergson, was a well-known patroness and benefactor of Polish Jewry, especially those associated with the Hasidic movement.[9][10] His mother, Katherine Levison, daughter of a Yorkshire doctor, was from an English and Irish Jewish background. The Bereksohns were a famous Jewish entrepreneurial family[11] of Polish descent. Henri Bergson's great-great-grandfather, Szmul Jakubowicz Sonnenberg, called Zbytkower, was a prominent banker and a protégé of Stanisław II Augustus,[12][13] King of Poland from 1764 to 1795.

Henri Bergson's family lived in London for a few years after his birth, and he obtained an early familiarity with the English language from his mother. Before he was nine, his parents settled in France, Henri becoming a naturalized French citizen.

Henri Bergson married Louise Neuberger, a cousin of Marcel Proust, in 1891. (The novelist served as best man at Bergson's wedding.)[14] Henri and Louise Bergson had a daughter, Jeanne, born deaf in 1896. Bergson's sister, Mina Bergson (also known as Moina Mathers), married the English occult author Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, a founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the couple later relocated to Paris as well.

Bergson lived the quiet life of a French professor, marked by the publication of his four principal works:

1. in 1889, Time and Free Will (Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience)
2. in 1896, Matter and Memory (Matière et mémoire)
3. in 1907, Creative Evolution (L'Évolution créatrice)
4. in 1932, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion)

In 1900 the Collège de France selected Bergson to a Chair of Greek and Roman Philosophy, which he held until 1904. He then replaced Gabriel Tarde in the Chair of Modern Philosophy, which he held until 1920. The public attended his open courses in large numbers.

Education and career

Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience (Dissertation, 1889)

Quid Aristoteles de loco senserit (Dissertation, 1889)

Bergson attended the Lycée Fontanes (known as the Lycée Condorcet 1870–1874 and 1883–present) in Paris from 1868 to 1878. He had previously received a Jewish religious education.[15] Between 14 and 16, however, he lost his faith. According to Hude (1990), this moral crisis is tied to his discovery of the theory of evolution, according to which humanity shares common ancestry with modern primates, a process sometimes construed as not needing a creative deity.[16]

While at the lycée Bergson won a prize for his scientific work and another, in 1877 when he was eighteen, for the solution of a mathematical problem. His solution was published the following year in Nouvelles Annales de Mathématiques.[17] It was his first published work. After some hesitation as to whether his career should lie in the sphere of the sciences or that of the humanities, he decided in favour of the latter, to the dismay of his teachers.[18] When he was nineteen, he entered the École Normale Supérieure. During this period, he read Herbert Spencer.[18] He obtained there the degree of licence ès lettres, and this was followed by that of agrégation de philosophie in 1881 from the University of Paris.

The same year he received a teaching appointment at the lycée in Angers, the ancient capital of Anjou. Two years later he settled at the Lycée Blaise-Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand) [fr] in Clermont-Ferrand, capital of the Puy-de-Dôme département.

The year after his arrival at Clermont-Ferrand Bergson displayed his ability in the humanities by the publication of an edition of extracts from Lucretius, with a critical study of the text and of the materialist cosmology of the poet (1884), a work whose repeated editions[which?] attest to its value in promoting Classics among French youth. While teaching and lecturing in this part of his country (the Auvergne region), Bergson found time for private study and original work. He crafted his dissertation Time and Free Will, which was submitted, along with a short Latin thesis on Aristotle (Quid Aristoteles de loco senserit, "On the Concept of Place in Aristotle"), for his doctoral degree which was awarded by the University of Paris in 1889. The work was published in the same year by Félix Alcan. He also gave courses in Clermont-Ferrand on the Pre-Socratics, in particular on Heraclitus.[18]

Bergson dedicated Time and Free Will to Jules Lachelier [fr] (1832–1918), then public education minister, a disciple of Félix Ravaisson (1813–1900) and the author of a philosophical work On the Founding of Induction (Du fondement de l'induction, 1871). Lachelier endeavoured "to substitute everywhere force for inertia, life for death, and liberty for fatalism". (Bergson owed much to both of these teachers of the École Normale Supérieure. Compare his memorial address on Ravaisson, who died in 1900.)

Bergson settled again in Paris in 1888,[19] and after teaching for some months at the municipal college, known as the College Rollin, he received an appointment at the Lycée Henri-Quatre, where he remained for eight years. There, he read Darwin and gave a course on his theories.[18] Although Bergson had previously endorsed Lamarckism and its theory of the heritability of acquired characteristics, he came to prefer Darwin's hypothesis of gradual variations, which were more compatible with his continual vision of life.[18]

In 1896 he published his second major work, entitled Matter and Memory. This rather difficult work investigates the function of the brain and undertakes an analysis of perception and memory, leading up to a careful consideration of the problems of the relation of body and mind. Bergson had spent years of research in preparation for each of his three large works. This is especially obvious in Matter and Memory, where he showed a thorough acquaintance with the extensive pathological investigations which had been carried out during the period.

In 1898 Bergson became maître de conférences at his alma mater, École Normale Supérieure, and later in the same year received a promotion to a Professorship. The year 1900 saw him installed as Professor at the Collège de France, where he accepted the Chair of Greek and Roman Philosophy in succession to Charles Lévêque [fr].

At the first International Congress of Philosophy, held in Paris during the first five days of August 1900, Bergson read a short, but important, paper, "Psychological Origins of the Belief in the Law of Causality" (Sur les origines psychologiques de notre croyance à la loi de causalité). In 1900 Felix Alcan published a work which had previously appeared in the Revue de Paris, entitled Laughter (Le rire), one of the most important of Bergson's minor productions. This essay on the meaning of comedy stemmed from a lecture which he had given in his early days in the Auvergne. The study of it is essential to an understanding of Bergson's views of life, and its passages dealing with the place of the artistic in life are valuable. The main thesis of the work is that laughter is a corrective evolved to make social life possible for human beings. We laugh at people who fail to adapt to the demands of society if it seems their failure is akin to an inflexible mechanism. Comic authors have exploited this human tendency to laugh in various ways, and what is common to them is the idea that the comic consists in there being "something mechanical encrusted on the living".[20][21]

In 1901 the Académie des sciences morales et politiques elected Bergson as a member, and he became a member of the Institute. In 1903 he contributed to the Revue de métaphysique et de morale a very important essay entitled Introduction to Metaphysics (Introduction à la metaphysique), which is useful as a preface to the study of his three large books. He detailed in this essay his philosophical program, realized in the Creative Evolution.[18]

On the death of Gabriel Tarde, the sociologist and philosopher, in 1904, Bergson succeeded him in the Chair of Modern Philosophy. From 4 to 8 September of that year he visited Geneva, attending the Second International Congress of Philosophy, when he lectured on The Mind and Thought: A Philosophical Illusion (Le cerveau et la pensée: une illusion philosophique). An illness prevented his visiting Germany from attending the Third Congress held at Heidelberg.

His third major work, Creative Evolution, the most widely known and most discussed of his books, appeared in 1907. Pierre Imbart de la Tour remarked that Creative Evolution was a milestone of new direction in thought.[citation needed] By 1918, Alcan, the publisher, had issued twenty-one editions, making an average of two editions per annum for ten years. Following the appearance of this book, Bergson's popularity increased enormously, not only in academic circles but among the general reading public.

At that time, Bergson had already made an extensive study of biology including the theory of fecundation (as shown in the first chapter of the Creative Evolution), which had only recently emerged, ca. 1885 – no small feat for a philosopher specializing in the history of philosophy, in particular Greek and Roman philosophy.[18] He also most certainly had read, apart from Darwin, Haeckel, from whom he retained his idea of a unity of life and of the ecological solidarity between all living beings,[18] as well as Hugo de Vries, from whom he quoted his mutation theory of evolution (which he opposed, preferring Darwin's gradualism).[18] He also quoted Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard, the successor of Claude Bernard at the Chair of Experimental Medicine in the Collège de France, etc.

Bergson served as a juror with Florence Meyer Blumenthal in awarding the Prix Blumenthal, a grant given between 1919 and 1954 to painters, sculptors, decorators, engravers, writers, and musicians.[22]

Relationship with James and pragmatism

Bergson traveled to London in 1908 and met there with William James, the Harvard philosopher who was Bergson's senior by seventeen years, and who was instrumental in calling the attention of the Anglo-American public to the work of the French professor. The two became great friends. James's impression of Bergson is given in his Letters under date of 4 October 1908:

So modest and unpretending a man but such a genius intellectually! I have the strongest suspicions that the tendency which he has brought to a focus, will end by prevailing, and that the present epoch will be a sort of turning point in the history of philosophy.

As early as 1880, James had contributed an article in French to the periodical La Critique philosophique, of Renouvier and Pillon, entitled Le Sentiment de l'Effort. Four years later, a couple of articles by him appeared in the journal Mind: "What is an Emotion?" and "On some Omissions of Introspective Psychology". Bergson quoted the first two of these articles in his 1889 work, Time and Free Will. In the following years, 1890–91 appeared the two volumes of James's monumental work, The Principles of Psychology, in which he refers to a pathological phenomenon observed by Bergson. Some writers, taking merely these dates into consideration and overlooking the fact that James's investigations had been proceeding since 1870 (registered from time to time by various articles which culminated in "The Principles"), have mistakenly dated Bergson's ideas as earlier than James's.

It has been suggested[by whom?] that Bergson owes the root ideas of his first book to the 1884 article by James, "On Some Omissions of Introspective Psychology," which he neither refers to nor quotes. This article deals with the conception of thought as a stream of consciousness, which intellect distorts by framing into concepts. Bergson replied to this insinuation by denying that he had any knowledge of the article by James when he wrote Les données immédiates de la conscience.[citation needed] The two thinkers appear to have developed independently until almost the close of the century. They are further apart in their intellectual position than is frequently supposed. Both have succeeded in appealing to audiences far beyond the purely academic sphere, but only in their mutual rejection of "intellectualism" as decisive as their actual agreement. Although James was slightly ahead in the development and enunciation of his ideas, he confessed that he was baffled by many of Bergson's notions. James certainly neglected many of the deeper metaphysical aspects of Bergson's thought, which did not harmonize with his own, and are even in direct contradiction. In addition to this, Bergson can hardly be considered a pragmatist. For him, "utility," far from being a test of truth, was, in fact, the reverse: a synonym for error.

Nevertheless, William James hailed Bergson as an ally. In 1903, he wrote:

I have been re-reading Bergson's books, and nothing that I have read for years has so excited and stimulated my thoughts. I am sure that his philosophy has a great future; it breaks through old frameworks and brings things to a solution from which new crystallizations can be reached.[23]

The most noteworthy tributes James paid to Bergson come in the Hibbert Lectures (A Pluralistic Universe), which James gave at Manchester College, Oxford, shortly after meeting Bergson in London. He remarks on the encouragement he gained from Bergson's thought, and refers to his confidence in being "able to lean on Bergson's authority." (See further James's reservations about Bergson, below.)

The influence of Bergson had led James "to renounce the intellectualist method and the current notion that logic is an adequate measure of what can or cannot be". It had induced him, he continued, "to give up logic, squarely and irrevocably" as a method, for he found that "reality, life, experience, concreteness, immediacy, use what word you will, exceeds our logic, overflows, and surrounds it".

These remarks, which appeared in James's book A Pluralistic Universe in 1909, impelled many English and American readers to investigate Bergson's philosophy for themselves, but no English translations of Bergson's major work had yet appeared. James, however, encouraged and assisted Arthur Mitchell in preparing an English translation of Creative Evolution. In August 1910, James died. It was his intention, had he lived to see the translation finished, to introduce it to the English reading public by a prefatory note of appreciation. In the following year, the translation was completed and still greater interest in Bergson and his work was the result. By coincidence, in that same year (1911), Bergson penned a preface of sixteen pages entitled Truth and Reality for the French translation of James's book, Pragmatism. In it, he expressed sympathetic appreciation of James's work, together with certain important reservations.

From 5 to 11 April, Bergson attended the Fourth International Congress of Philosophy held at Bologna, in Italy, where he gave an address on "Philosophical Intuition". In response to invitations he visited England in May of that year, and on several subsequent occasions. These visits were well received.[by whom?] His speeches offered new perspectives[which?] and elucidated many passages in his three major works: Time and Free Will, Matter and Memory, and Creative Evolution. Although necessarily brief statements, they developed and enriched the ideas in his books and clarified for English audiences the fundamental principles of his philosophy.

Lectures on change

In May 1911 Bergson gave two lectures entitled The Perception of Change (La perception du changement) at the University of Oxford. The Clarendon Press published these in French in the same year.[24] His talks were concise and lucid, leading students and the general reader to his other, longer writings. Oxford later conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Science.

Two days later he delivered the Huxley Lecture at the University of Birmingham, taking for his subject Life and Consciousness. This subsequently appeared in The Hibbert Journal (October 1911), and since revised, is the first essay in the collected volume Mind-Energy (L'Énergie spirituelle). In October he again traveled to England, where he had an enthusiastic reception, and delivered at University College London four lectures on La Nature de l'Âme [The nature of the soul].

In 1913 Bergson visited the United States of America at the invitation of Columbia University, New York, and lectured in several American cities, where very large audiences welcomed him. In February, at Columbia University, he lectured both in French and English, taking as his subjects: Spirituality and Freedom and The Method of Philosophy. Being again in England in May of the same year, he accepted the Presidency of the British Society for Psychical Research, and delivered to the Society an address on Phantoms of Life and Psychic Research (Fantômes des vivants et recherche psychique).

Meanwhile, his popularity increased, and translations of his works began to appear in a number of languages: English, German, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Hungarian, Polish, and Russian. In 1914 Bergson's fellow-countrymen honoured him by his election as a member of the Académie française. He was also made President of the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques, and in addition, he became Officier de la Légion d'honneur, and Officier de l'Instruction publique.

Bergson found disciples of many types. In France movements such as neo-Catholicism and Modernism on the one hand and syndicalism on the other endeavoured to absorb and appropriate for their own ends some central ideas of his teaching. The continental organ of socialist and syndicalist theory, Le Mouvement socialiste,[25] portrayed the realism of Karl Marx and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon as hostile to all forms of intellectualism, and argued, therefore, that supporters of Marxist socialism should welcome a philosophy such as that of Bergson.[citation needed] Other writers, in their eagerness, claimed that the thought of the holder of the Chair of Philosophy at the Collège de France, and the aims of the Confédération Générale du Travail and the Industrial Workers of the World were in essential agreement.

While social revolutionaries endeavoured to make the most out of Bergson, many religious leaders, particularly the more liberal-minded theologians of all creeds, e.g., the Modernists and Neo-Catholic Party in his own country, showed a keen interest in his writings, and many of them found encouragement and stimulus in his work. The Roman Catholic Church, however, banned Bergson's three books on the charge of pantheism (that is, of conceiving of God as immanent to his Creation and of being himself created in the process of the Creation).[18] They were placed on the Index of prohibited books (Decree of 1 June 1914).

Later years

In 1914 the Scottish universities arranged for Bergson to give the famous Gifford Lectures, planning one course for the spring and another for the autumn. Bergson delivered the first course, consisting of eleven lectures, under the title of The Problem of Personality, at the University of Edinburgh in the spring of that year. The course of lectures planned for the autumn months had to be abandoned because of the outbreak of war. Bergson was not, however, silent during the conflict, and he gave some inspiring addresses. As early as 4 November 1914, he wrote an article entitled Wearing and Nonwearing forces (La force qui s'use et celle qui ne s'use pas), which appeared in that unique and interesting periodical of the poilus, Le Bulletin des Armées de la République Française. A presidential address, The Meaning of the War, was delivered in December 1914, to the Académie des sciences morales et politiques.

Bergson contributed also to the publication arranged by The Daily Telegraph in honour of King Albert I of the Belgians, King Albert's Book (Christmas, 1914).[26] In 1915 he was succeeded in the office of President of the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques by Alexandre Ribot, and then delivered a discourse on "The Evolution of German Imperialism". Meanwhile, he found time to issue at the request of the Minister of Public Instruction a brief summary of French Philosophy. Bergson did a large amount of traveling and lecturing in America during the war. He participated in the negotiations which led to the entry of the United States in the war. He was there when the French Mission under René Viviani paid a visit in April and May 1917, following upon America's entry into the conflict. Viviani's book La Mission française en Amérique (1917), contains a preface by Bergson.

Early in 1918 the Académie française received Bergson officially when he took his seat among "The Select Forty" as successor to Emile Ollivier (the author of the historical work L'Empire libéral). A session was held in January in his honour at which he delivered an address on Ollivier. In the war, Bergson saw the conflict of Mind and Matter, or rather of Life and Mechanism; and thus he shows us the central idea of his own philosophy in action. To no other philosopher has it fallen, during his lifetime, to have his philosophical principles so vividly and so terribly tested.

As many of Bergson's contributions to French periodicals remained relatively inaccessible, he agreed to the request of his friends[which?] to have such works collected and published in two volumes. The first of these was being planned when war broke out. The conclusion of strife was marked by the appearance of a delayed volume in 1919. It bears the title Spiritual Energy: Essays and Lectures (reprinted as Mind-Energy – L'Énergie spirituelle: essais et conférences). The advocate of Bergson's philosophy in England, Wildon Carr, prepared an English translation under the title Mind-Energy. The volume opens with the Huxley Memorial Lecture of 1911, "Life and Consciousness", in a revised and developed form under the title "Consciousness and Life". Signs of Bergson's growing interest in social ethics and in the idea of a future life of personal survival are manifested. The lecture before the Society for Psychical Research is included, as is also the one given in France, L'Âme et le Corps, which contains the substance of the four London lectures on the Soul. The seventh and last article is a reprint of Bergson's famous lecture to the Congress of Philosophy at Geneva in 1904, The Psycho-Physiological Paralogism (Le paralogisme psycho-physiologique), which now appears as Le cerveau et la pensée: une illusion philosophique. Other articles are on the False Recognition, on Dreams, and Intellectual Effort. The volume is a most welcome production and serves to bring together what Bergson wrote on the concept of mental force, and on his view of "tension" and "detension" as applied to the relation of matter and mind.

In June 1920, the University of Cambridge honoured him with the degree of Doctor of Letters. In order that he might devote his full-time to the great new work he was preparing on ethics, religion, and sociology, the Collège de France relieved Bergson of the duties attached to the Chair of Modern Philosophy there. He retained the chair, but no longer delivered lectures, his place being taken by his disciple, the mathematician and philosopher Édouard Le Roy, who supported a conventionalist stance on the foundations of mathematics, which was adopted by Bergson.[27] Le Roy, who also succeeded to Bergson at the Académie française and was a fervent Catholic, extended to revealed truth his conventionalism, leading him to privilege faith, heart and sentiment to dogmas, speculative theology and abstract reasoning. Like Bergson's, his writings were placed on the Index by the Vatican.

Debate with Albert Einstein

In the fall of 1922 Bergson's book Durée et simultanéité, a propos de la theorie d'Einstein (Duration and Simultaneity: Bergson and the Einsteinian Universe) was published.[28] Earlier in the spring Einstein had come to the French Society of Philosophy and briefly replied to a short speech made by Bergson.[29] The book has been often considered as one of his worst, many alleging that his knowledge of physics was insufficient, and that the book did not follow up contemporary developments on physics.[18] (But in "Einstein and the Crisis of Reason", a leading French philosopher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, accused Einstein of failing to grasp Bergson's argument. This argument, Merleau-Ponty says, which concerns not the physics of special relativity but its philosophical foundations, addresses paradoxes caused by popular interpretations and misconceptions about the theory, including Einstein's own.[30]) It was not published in the 1951 Edition du Centenaire in French, which contained all of his other works, and was only published later in a work gathering different essays, titled Mélanges. Duration and simultaneity took advantage of Bergson's experience at the League of Nations, where he presided from 1920 to 1925 over the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (the ancestor of UNESCO, and which included Einstein, Marie Curie, etc.).[31].

Later years and death

While living with his wife and daughter in a modest house in a quiet street near the Porte d'Auteuil in Paris, Bergson won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1927 for having written The Creative Evolution. Because of serious rheumatics ailments, he could not travel to Stockholm, and sent instead a text subsequently published in La Pensée et le mouvant.[18] He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1928.[32]

After his retirement from the Collège, Bergson began to fade into obscurity: he suffered from a degenerative illness (rheumatism, which left him half paralyzed[18]). He completed his new work, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, which extended his philosophical theories to the realms of morality, religion, and art, in 1935. It was respectfully received by the public and the philosophical community, but all by that time realized that Bergson's days as a philosophical luminary were past. He was, however, able to reiterate his core beliefs near the end of his life, by renouncing all of the posts and honours previously awarded him, rather than accept exemption from the antisemitic laws imposed by the Vichy government.

Bergson inclined to convert to Catholicism, writing in his will on 7 February 1937: "My thinking has always brought me nearer to Catholicism, in which I saw the perfect complement to Judaism."[33] Though wishing to convert to Catholicism, as stated in his will, he did not convert in view of the travails inflicted on the Jewish people by the rise of Nazism and anti-Semitism in Europe in the 1930s; he did not want to appear to want to leave the persecuted. After the fall of France in 1940, Jews in occupied France were required to register at police stations. When completing his police form, Bergson made the following entry: ‘Academic. Philosopher. Nobel Prize winner. Jew.’[34]

On 3 January 1941 Bergson died in occupied Paris from bronchitis.[35]

A Roman Catholic priest said prayers at his funeral per his request. Bergson is buried in the Cimetière de Garches, Hauts-de-Seine.


Bergson rejected what he saw as the overly mechanistic predominant view of causality (as expressed in, say, finalism). He argued that we must allow space for free will to unfold in an autonomous and unpredictable fashion. While Kant saw free will as something beyond time and space and therefore ultimately a matter of faith, Bergson attempted to redefine the modern conceptions of time, space, and causality in his concept of Duration, making room for a tangible marriage of free will with causality. Seeing Duration as a mobile and fluid concept, Bergson argued that one cannot understand Duration through "immobile" analysis, but only through experiential, first-person intuition.
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Bergson considers the appearance of novelty as a result of pure undetermined creation, instead of as the predetermined result of mechanistic forces. His philosophy emphasises pure mobility, unforeseeable novelty, creativity and freedom; thus one can characterize his system as a process philosophy. It touches upon such topics as time and identity, free will, perception, change, memory, consciousness, language, the foundation of mathematics and the limits of reason.[36]

Criticizing Kant's theory of knowledge exposed in the Critique of Pure Reason and his conception of truth – which he compares to Plato's conception of truth as its symmetrical inversion (order of nature/order of thought) – Bergson attempted to redefine the relations between science and metaphysics, intelligence and intuition, and insisted on the necessity of increasing thought's possibility through the use of intuition, which, according to him, alone approached a knowledge of the absolute and of real life, understood as pure duration. Because of his (relative) criticism of intelligence, he makes a frequent use of images and metaphors in his writings in order to avoid the use of concepts, which (he considers) fail to touch the whole of reality, being only a sort of abstract net thrown on things. For instance, he says in The Creative Evolution (chap. III) that thought in itself would never have thought it possible for the human being to swim, as it cannot deduce swimming from walking. For swimming to be possible, man must throw itself in water, and only then can thought consider swimming as possible. Intelligence, for Bergson, is a practical faculty rather than a pure speculative faculty, a product of evolution used by man to survive. If metaphysics is to avoid "false problems", it should not extend the abstract concepts of intelligence to pure speculation, but rather use intuition.[37]

The Creative Evolution in particular attempted to think through the continuous creation of life, and explicitly pitted itself against Herbert Spencer's evolutionary philosophy. Spencer had attempted to transpose Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in philosophy and to construct a cosmology based on this theory (Spencer also coined the expression "survival of the fittest"). Bergson disputed what he saw as Spencer's mechanistic philosophy.[38]

Bergson's Lebensphilosophie (philosophy of life) can be seen as a response to the mechanistic philosophies of his time,[39] but also to the failure of finalism.[18] Indeed, he considers that finalism is unable to explain "duration" and the "continuous creation of life", as it only explains life as the progressive development of an initially determined program – a notion which remains, for example, in the expression of a "genetic program";[18] such a description of finalism was adopted, for instance, by Leibniz.[18] It clearly announces Alfred North Whitehead's.

Bergson regarded planning beforehand for the future as impossible, since time itself unravels unforeseen possibilities. Indeed, one could always explain a historical event retrospectively by its conditions of possibility. But, in the introduction to the Pensée et le mouvant, he explains that such an event created retrospectively its causes, taking the example of the creation of a work of art, for example a symphony: it was impossible to predict what would be the symphony of the future, as if the musician knew what symphony would be the best for his time, he would realize it. In his words, the effect created its cause. Henceforth, he attempted to find a third way between mechanism and finalism, through the notion of an original impulse, the élan vital, in life, which dispersed itself through evolution into contradictory tendencies (he substituted to the finalist notion of a teleological aim a notion of an original impulse).


See also: Duration (philosophy)

The foundation of Henri Bergson's philosophy, his theory of Duration, he discovered when trying to improve the inadequacies of Herbert Spencer's philosophy.[39] Bergson introduced Duration as a theory of time and consciousness in his doctoral thesis Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness as a response to another of his influences: Immanuel Kant.[40]

Kant believed that free will (better perceived as The Will) could only exist outside of time and space, indeed the only non-determined aspect of our private existence in the universe, separate to water cycles, mathematics and mortality. However, we could therefore not know whether or not it exists, and that it is nothing but a pragmatic faith.[40] Bergson responded that Kant, along with many other philosophers, had confused time with its spatial representation.[41] In reality, Bergson argued, Duration is unextended yet heterogeneous, and so its parts cannot be juxtaposed as a succession of distinct parts, with one causing the other. Based on this he concluded that determinism is an impossibility and free will pure mobility, which is what Bergson identified as being the Duration.[42]


See also: Intuition (Bergson)

Duration, as defined by Bergson, then is a unity and a multiplicity, but, being mobile, it cannot be grasped through immobile concepts. Bergson hence argues that one can grasp it only through his method of intuition. Two images from Henri Bergson's An Introduction to Metaphysics may help one to grasp Bergson's term intuition, the limits of concepts, and the ability of intuition to grasp the absolute. The first image is that of a city. Analysis, or the creation of concepts through the divisions of points of view, can only ever give us a model of the city through a construction of photographs taken from every possible point of view, yet it can never give us the dimensional value of walking in the city itself. One can only grasp this through intuition; likewise the experience of reading a line of Homer. One may translate the line and pile commentary upon commentary, but this commentary too shall never grasp the simple dimensional value of experiencing the poem in its originality itself. The method of intuition, then, is that of getting back to the things themselves.[43]

Élan vital

See also: Élan vital

Élan vital ranks as Bergson's third essential concept, after Duration and intuition. An idea with the goal of explaining evolution, the élan vital first appeared in 1907's Creative Evolution. Bergson portrays élan vital as a kind of vital impetus which explains evolution in a less mechanical and more lively manner, as well as accounting for the creative impulse of mankind. This concept led several authors to characterize Bergson as a supporter of vitalism—although he criticized it explicitly in The Creative Evolution, as he thought, against Driesch and Johannes Reinke (whom he cited) that there is neither "purely internal finality nor clearly cut individuality in nature":[44]

Hereby lies the stumbling block of vitalist theories ... It is thus in vain that one pretends to reduce finality to the individuality of the living being. If there is finality in the world of life, it encompasses the whole of life in one indivisible embrace.[45]


In Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic, Bergson develops a theory not of laughter itself but of how laughter can be provoked (see his objection to Delage, published in the 23rd edition of the essay).[18] He describes the process of laughter (refusing to give a conceptual definition which would not approach its reality[18]), used in particular by comics and clowns, as caricature of the mechanistic nature of humans (habits, automatic acts, etc.), one of the two tendencies of life (degradation towards inert matter and mechanism, and continual creation of new forms).[18] However, Bergson warns us that laughter's criterion of what should be laughed at is not a moral criterion and that it can in fact cause serious damage to a person's self-esteem.[46] This essay made his opposition to the Cartesian theory of the animal-machine obvious.[18]


From his first publications, Bergson's philosophy attracted strong criticism from different quarters, although he also became very popular and durably influenced French philosophy. The mathematician Édouard Le Roy became Bergson's main disciple. Nonetheless, Suzanne Guerlac has argued that his institutional position at the Collège de France, delivering lectures to a general audience, may have retarded the systematic reception of his thought: "Bergson achieved enormous popular success in this context, often due to the emotional appeal of his ideas. But he did not have the equivalent of graduate students who might have become rigorous interpreters of his thought. Thus Bergson's philosophy—in principle open and nonsystematic—was easily borrowed piecemeal and altered by enthusiastic admirers".[47]

Alfred North Whitehead acknowledged Bergson's influence on his process philosophy in his 1929 Process and Reality.[48] However, Bertrand Russell, Whitehead's collaborator on Principia Mathematica, was not so entranced by Bergson's philosophy. Although acknowledging Bergson's literary skills, Russell saw Bergson's arguments at best as persuasive or emotive speculation but not at all as any worthwhile example of sound reasoning or philosophical insight.[49] The epistemologist Gaston Bachelard explicitly alluded to him in the last pages of his 1938 book The Formation of the Scientific Mind. Others influenced by Bergson include Vladimir Jankélévitch, who wrote a book on him in 1931,[50] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Gilles Deleuze who wrote Le bergsonisme in 1966.[51] Bergson also influenced the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Emmanuel Levinas,[52] although Merleau-Ponty had reservations about Bergson's philosophy.[53] The Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis studied under Bergson in Paris and his writing and philosophy were profoundly influenced as a result.[54]

Many writers of the early 20th century criticized Bergson's intuitionism, indeterminism, psychologism and interpretation of the scientific impulse. Those who explicitly criticized Bergson, either in published articles or in letters, included Bertrand Russell[55] George Santayana,[56] G. E. Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger,[57] Julien Benda,[58] T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis,[59] Wallace Stevens,[60] Paul Valéry, André Gide, Jean Piaget,[61] Marxist philosophers Theodor W. Adorno,[62] Lucio Colletti,[63] Jean-Paul Sartre,[64] and Georges Politzer,[65] as well as Maurice Blanchot,[66] American philosophers such as Irving Babbitt, Arthur Lovejoy, Josiah Royce, The New Realists (Ralph B. Perry, E. B. Holt, and William Pepperell Montague), The Critical Realists (Durant Drake, Roy W. Sellars, C. A. Strong, and A. K. Rogers), Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Roger Fry (see his letters), Julian Huxley (in Evolution: The Modern Synthesis) and Virginia Woolf (for the latter, see Ann Banfield, The Phantom Table).[citation needed]

The Vatican accused Bergson of pantheism, while free-thinkers[who?] (who formed a large part of the teachers and professors of the French Third Republic) accused him of spiritualism. Still others have characterized his philosophy as a materialist emergentism – Samuel Alexander and C. Lloyd Morgan explicitly claimed Bergson as their forebear.[18] According to Henri Hude (1990, II, p. 142), who supports himself on the whole of Bergson's works as well as his now published courses, accusing him of pantheism is a "counter-sense". Hude alleges that a mystical experience, roughly outlined at the end of Les Deux sources de la morale et de la religion, is the inner principle of his whole philosophy, although this has been contested by other commentators.

Charles Sanders Peirce took strong exception to those who associated him with Bergson. In response to a letter comparing his work with that of Bergson he wrote, "a man who seeks to further science can hardly commit a greater sin than to use the terms of his science without anxious care to use them with strict accuracy; it is not very gratifying to my feelings to be classed along with a Bergson who seems to be doing his utmost to muddle all distinctions." William James's students resisted the assimilation of his work to that of Bergson. See, for example, Horace Kallen's book on the subject James and Bergson. As Jean Wahl described the "ultimate disagreement" between James and Bergson in his System of Metaphysics: "for James, the consideration of action is necessary for the definition of truth, according to Bergson, action ... must be kept from our mind if we want to see the truth"[page needed]. Gide even went so far as to say that future historians will overestimate Bergson's influence on art and philosophy just because he was the self-appointed spokesman for "the spirit of the age".

As early as the 1890s, Santayana attacked certain key concepts in Bergson's philosophy, above all his view of the New and the indeterminate:

the possibility of a new and unaccountable fact appearing at any time," he writes in his book on Hermann Lotze, "does not practically affect the method of investigation; ... the only thing given up is the hope that these hypotheses may ever be adequate to the reality and cover the process of nature without leaving a remainder. This is no great renunciation; for that consummation of science ... is by no one really expected.

According to Santayana and Russell, Bergson projected false claims onto the aspirations of scientific method, claims which Bergson needed to make in order to justify his prior moral commitment to freedom. Russell takes particular exception to Bergson's understanding of number in chapter two of Time and Free-will. According to Russell, Bergson uses an outmoded spatial metaphor ("extended images") to describe the nature of mathematics as well as logic in general. "Bergson only succeeds in making his theory of number possible by confusing a particular collection with the number of its terms, and this again with number in general", writes Russell (see The Philosophy of Bergson[page needed] and A History of Western Philosophy[page needed]).

Furthermore, writers such as Russell, Wittgenstein, and James saw élan vital as a projection of subjectivity onto the world. The external world, according to certain[which?] theories of probability, provides less and less indeterminism with further refinement of scientific method. In brief, one should not confuse the moral, psychological, subjective demand for the new, the underivable and the unexplained with the universe.[citation needed] One's subjective sense of duration differs the (non-human) world, a difference which, according to the ancient materialist Lucretius should not be characterized as either one of becoming or being, creation or destruction (De Rerum Natura).

Suzanne Guerlac has argued that the more recent resurgence of scholarly interest in Bergson is related to the growing influence of his follower Deleuze within continental philosophy: "If there is a return to Bergson today, then, it is largely due to Gilles Deleuze whose own work has etched the contours of the New Bergson. This is not only because Deleuze wrote about Bergson; it is also because Deleuze's own thought is deeply engaged with that of his predecessor, even when Bergson is not explicitly mentioned."[67] Leonard Lawlor and Valentine Moulard agree with Guerlac that "the recent revitalization of Bergsonism ... is almost entirely due to Deleuze." They explain that Bergson's concept of multiplicity "is at the very heart of Deleuze's thought, and duration is the model for all of Deleuze's 'becomings.' The other aspect that attracted Deleuze, which is indeed connected to the first, is Bergson's criticism of the concept of negation in Creative Evolution. ... Thus Bergson became a resource in the criticism of the Hegelian dialectic, the negative."[68]

Ilya Prigogine acknowledged Bergson's influence at his Nobel Prize reception lecture: "Since my adolescence, I have read many philosophical texts, and I still remember the spell L’évolution créatrice cast on me. More specifically, I felt that some essential message was embedded, still to be made explicit, in Bergson‘s remark: 'The more deeply we study the nature of time, the better we understand that duration means invention, creation of forms, continuous elaboration of the absolutely new.'"[69]

Comparison to Indian philosophies

Several Hindu authors have found parallels to Hindu philosophy in Bergson's thought. The integrative evolutionism of Sri Aurobindo, an Indian philosopher from the early 20th century, has many similarities to Bergson's philosophy. Whether this represents a direct influence of Bergson is disputed, although Aurobindo was familiar with many Western philosophers.[70] K Narayanaswami Aiyer, a member of the Theosophical Society, published a pamphlet titled "Professor Bergson and the Hindu Vedanta", where he argued that Bergson's ideas on matter, consciousness, and evolution were in agreement with Vedantic and Puranic explanations.[71] Nalini Kanta Brahma, Marie Tudor Garland and Hope Fitz are other authors who have comparatively evaluated Hindu and Bergsonian philosophies, especially in relation to intuition, consciousness and evolution.[72][73][74]


• Bergson, H.; The Philosophy of Poetry: The Genius of Lucretius (La Philosophie de la Poesie: le Génie de Lucrèce, 1884), Philosophical Library 1959: ISBN 978-1-4976-7566-7
• Bergson, H.; Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness (Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience, 1889). Allen & Unwin 1910, Dover Publications 2001: ISBN 0-486-41767-0 – Bergson's doctoral dissertation.
• Bergson, H.; Matter and Memory (Matière et mémoire, 1896). Swan Sonnenschein 1911, Zone Books 1990: ISBN 0-942299-05-1, Dover Publications 2004: ISBN 0-486-43415-X.
• Bergson, H.; Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (Le rire, 1900). Green Integer 1998: ISBN 1-892295-02-4, Dover Publications 2005: ISBN 0-486-44380-9.
• Bergson, H.; Creative Evolution (L'Évolution créatrice, 1907). Henry Holt and Company 1911, University Press of America 1983: ISBN 0-8191-3553-4, Dover Publications 1998: ISBN 0-486-40036-0, Kessinger Publishing 2003: ISBN 0-7661-4732-0, Cosimo 2005: ISBN 1-59605-309-7.
• Bergson, H.; Mind-energy (L'Énergie spirituelle, 1919). McMillan 1920. – a collection of essays and lectures. On
• Bergson, H.; Duration and Simultaneity: Bergson and the Einsteinian Universe (Durée et simultanéité, 1922). Clinamen Press Ltd 1999. ISBN 1-903083-01-X.
• Bergson, H.; The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (Les Deux Sources de la Morale et de la Religion, 1932). University of Notre Dame Press 1977. ISBN 0-268-01835-9. On
• Bergson, H.; The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics (La Pensée et le mouvant, 1934). Citadel Press 1946: ISBN 0-8065-2326-3 – essay collection, sequel to Mind-Energy, including 1903's "An Introduction to Metaphysics."

See also

• Philosophy of biology
• Psychosophy
• Intuition (Bergson)
• Duration (philosophy)
• List of Jewish Nobel laureates


1. John Ó Maoilearca, Beth Lord (eds.), The Continuum Companion to Continental Philosophy, Bloomsbury Academic, 2009, p. 204.
2. Ford, Russell (2004), 'Immanence and Method: Bergson's Early Reading of Spinoza,'. The Southern Journal of Philosophy 42(2): 171–92. doi:10.1111/j.2041-6962.2004.tb00995.x
3. Astesiano, Lionel: Joie et liberté chez Bergson et Spinoza. (Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2016)
4. Hancock, Curtis L. (May 1995). "The Influence of Plotinus on Berson's Critique of Empirical Science". In R. Baine Harris (ed.). Neoplatonism and Contemporary Thought. Congress of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies held in May 1995 at Vanderbilt University. 10. International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 139ff. ISBN 978-0-7914-5275-2. Retrieved 10 May 2010. That the philosophy of Henri Bergson is significantly influenced by the doctrines of Plotinus is indicated by the many years Bergson devoted to teaching Plotinus and the many parallels in their respective philosophies. This influence has been discussed at some length by Bergson's contemporaries, such as Emile Bréhier and Rose-Marie Rossé-Bastide. ...
5. R. William Rauch, Politics and Belief in Contemporary France: Emmanuel Mounier and Christian Democracy, 1932–1950, Springer, 2012, p. 67.
6. Merquior, J. G. (1987). Foucault (Fontana Modern Masters series), University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-06062-8.
7. "The Nobel prize in Literature". Retrieved 15 November 2010.
8. Robert C. Grogin, The Bergsonian Controversy in France, 1900–1914, Univ of Calgary Press (May 1988), ISBN 0919813305
9. Gelber, Nathan Michael (1 January 2007). "Bergson". Encyclopaedia Judaica. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
10. Dynner, Glenn (2008). Men of Silk: The Hasidic Conquest of Polish Jewish Society. Oxford University Press. pp. 104–105. ISBN 019538265X.
11. Henri Bergson. 2014. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 13 August 2014, from ... ri-Bergson
12. "Z ziemi polskiej do Nobla" [From the Polish lands to the Nobel Prize]. Wprost(in Polish). Warsaw: Agencja Wydawniczo-Reklamowa Wprost. 4 January 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2010. Polskie korzenie ma Henri Bergson, jeden z najwybitniejszych pisarzy, fizyk i filozof francuski żydowskiego pochodzenia. Jego ojcem był Michał Bergson z Warszawy, prawnuk Szmula Jakubowicza Sonnenberga, zwanego Zbytkowerem (1756–1801), żydowskiego kupca i bankiera. [Translation: Henri Bergson, one of the greatest French writers, physicists and philosophers of Jewish ancestry, had Polish roots. His father was Michael Bergson from Warsaw, the great-grandson of Szmul Jakubowicz Sonnenberg – known as Zbytkower – (1756–1801), a Jewish merchant and banker.]
13. Testament starozakonnego Berka Szmula Sonnenberga z 1818 roku Archived28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
14. Suzanne Guerlac, Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2007, p. 9.
15. Lawlor, Leonard and Moulard Leonard, Valentine, "Henri Bergson", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>
16. Henri Hude, Bergson, Paris, Editions Universitaires, 1990, 2 volumes, quoted by Anne Fagot-Largeau in her 21 December 2006 course at the College of France
17. "Nouvelles Annales de Mathématiques". 2 (17). Paris. 1878: 268. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
18. Anne Fagot-Largeau, 21 December 2006 course Archived 6 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine at the College of France (audio file of the course)
19. Henri Bergson: Key Writings, ed. Keith Ansell Pearson and John Mullarkey. London: Continuum, 2002, p. ix.
20. p. 39
22. "Florence Meyer Blumenthal". Jewish Women's Archive, Michele Siegel.
23. Bergson and his philosophy Chapter 1: Life of Bergson
24. Bergson, Henri (1911). La perception du changement; conférences faites à l'Université d'Oxford les 26 et 27 mai 1911 [The perception of change: lectures delivered at the University of Oxford on 26 and 27 May 1911] (in French). Oxford: Clarendon. p. 37.
25. Reberioux, M. (January – March 1964). "La gauche socialiste française: La Guerre Sociale et Le Mouvement Socialiste face au problème colonial" [French right-wing socialism: La Guerre Sociale and Le Mouvement Socialiste in the face of the colonial problem]. Le Mouvement social (in French). Editions l'Atelier/Association Le Mouvement Social (46): 91–103. JSTOR 3777267. ... deux organes, d'ailleurs si dissembables, ou s'exprime l'extrême-gauche du courant socialiste français: le Mouvement socialiste d'Hubert Lagardelle et la Guerre sociale de Gustave Hervé. Jeune publications – le Mouvement socialiste est fondé en janvier 1899, la Guerre sociale en décembre 1906 –, dirigées par de jeunes équipes qui faisaient profession de rejeter le chauvinisme, d'être attentives au nouveau et de ne pas reculer devant les prises de position les plus véhémentes, ...
26. King Albert's book: a tribute to the Belgian king and people from representative men and women throughout the world. London: The Daily Telegraph. 1914. p. 187.
27. See Chapter III of The Creative Evolution
28. Canales J., The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time, Princeton, Princeton Press, 2015.
29. Minutes of the meeting:Séance du 6 Avril 1922
30. Signs, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, trans. Richard C. McCleary, Northwestern Univ. Press, 1964.
31. On the relation between Einstein and Bergson in this Committee, see Einstein, Bergson and the Experiment that Failed: Intellectual Cooperation at the League of Nations. On the involvement of Bergson (and Einstein) in the Committee in general, see Grandjean, Martin (2018). Les réseaux de la coopération intellectuelle. La Société des Nations comme actrice des échanges scientifiques et culturels dans l'entre-deux-guerres [The Networks of Intellectual Cooperation. The League of Nations as an Actor of the Scientific and Cultural Exchanges in the Inter-War Period] (in French). Lausanne: Université de Lausanne..
32. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
33. Quoted in: Zolli, Eugenio (2008) [1954]. Before the Dawn. Ignatius Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-58617-287-9.
34. Gilbert, Martin. The Second World War: A Complete History (p. 129). Rosetta Books. Kindle Edition.
35. "Henri Bergson – Philosopher – Biography". 3 January 1941. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
36. Bergson explores these topics in Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness, in Matter and Memory, in Creative Evolution, and in The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics.
37. Elie During, « Fantômes de problèmes », published by the Centre International d'Etudes de la Philosophie Française Contemporaine (short version first published in Le magazine littéraire, n°386, April 2000 (issue dedicated to Bergson)
38. The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics, pages 11 to 14
39. Henri Bergson, The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics, pages 11 to 13.
40. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Henri Bergson": "'Time and Free Will' has to be seen as an attack on Kant, for whom freedom belongs to a realm outside of space and time."
41. Henri Bergson, Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness, Author's Preface.
42. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Henri Bergson": "For Bergson – and perhaps this is his greatest insight – freedom is mobility."
43. Henri Bergson, The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics, pages 160 to 161. For a Whiteheadian use of Bergsonian intuition, see Michel Weber's Whitehead’s Pancreativism. The Basics. Foreword by Nicholas Rescher, Frankfurt / Paris, Ontos Verlag, 2006.
44. L'Évolution créatrice, pp. 42–44; pp. 226–227
45. L'Évolution créatrice, pp. 42–43
46. Henri Bergson's theory of laughter. A brief summary.
47. Suzanne Guerlac, Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006, p. 10
48. Cf. Ronny Desmet and Michel Weber (edited by), Whitehead. The Algebra of Metaphysics. Applied Process Metaphysics Summer Institute Memorandum, Louvain-la-Neuve, Éditions Chromatika, 2010 & Michel Weber, Whitehead’s Pancreativism. The Basics. Foreword by Nicholas Rescher, Frankfurt / Paris, ontos verlag, 2006.
49. Russell, B.; "The Philosophy of Bergson," The Monist 1912 vol. 22 pp. 321–347
50. entitled Henri Bergson.
51. transl. 1988.
52. Dermot Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology, 2000, pp. 322 and 393.
53. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (2001). Bjelland, Andrew G.; Burke, Patrick (eds.). The incarnate subject : Malebranche, Biran, and Bergson on the union of body and soul. preface by Jacques Taminiaux ; translation by Paul B. Milan. Amherst, N.Y.: Humanity Books. p. 152. ISBN 1-57392-915-8.
54. Peter Bien, Three Generations of Greek Writers, Published by Efstathiadis Group, Athens, 1983
55. see his short book Russell, Bertrand (1977). The philosophy of Bergson. Folcroft, Pa.: Folcroft Library Editions. p. 36. ISBN 0-8414-7371-4.on the subject).
56. see his study on the author in "Winds of Doctrine"
57. see Being and Time, esp. sections 5, 10, and 82.
58. see his two books on the subject
59. Wyndham Lewis, Time and Western Man (1927), ed. Paul Edwards, Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow, 1993.
60. "The Irrational Element in Poetry." 1936. Opus Posthumous. 1957. Ed. Milton J. Bates. New York: Random House, 1990.
61. see his book Insights and Illusions of Philosophy 1972
62. see "Against Epistemology"
63. see "Hegel and Marxism"
64. see his early book Imagination – although Sartre also appropriated himself Bergsonian thesis on novelty as pure creation – see Situations I Gallimard 1947, p. 314
65. see the latter's two books on the subject: Le Bergsonisme, une Mystification Philosophique and La fin d'une parade philosophique: le Bergsonisme both of which had a tremendous effect on French existential phenomenology
66. see Bergson and Symbolism
67. Suzanne Guerlac, Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006, p. 175.
68. Leonard Lawlor and Valentine Moulard (12 July 2011) [18 May 2004], "The revitalization of Bergsonism", Henri Bergson, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, retrieved 20 August 2012
69. ... graphical/
70. K Mackenzie Brown. "Hindu perspectives on evolution: Darwin, Dharma, and Design". Routledge, Jan 2012. Page 164-166
71. KN Aiyer. "Professor Bergson and the Hindu Vedanta". Vasanta Press. 1910. Pages 36 – 37.
72. Marie Tudor Garland. "Hindu Mind Training". Longmans, Green and Company, 1917. Page 20.
73. Nalini Kanta Brahma. "Philosophy of Hindu Sadhana". PHI Learning Private Ltd 2008.
74. Hope K Fitz. "Intuition: Its nature and uses in human experience." Motilal Banarsidass publishers 2000. Pages 22–30.

Further reading

• Ansell-Pearson, Keith. Philosophy and the Adventure of the Virtual: Bergson and the Time of Life. London: Routledge, 2002.
• Bachelard, Gaston. The Dialectic of Duration. Trans. Mary Mcallester Jones. Manchester: Clinamen Press, 2000.
• Bianco, Giuseppe. Après Bergson. Portrait de groupe avec philosophe. Paris, PUF, 2015.
• Canales, Jimena. The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time. Princeton, Princeton Press, 2015.
• Deleuze, Gilles. Bergsonism. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. New York: Zone Books, 1988.
• Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 1: The Movement-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.
• Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 2: The Time-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989.
• Fradet, Pierre-Alexandre, Derrida-Bergson. Sur l'immédiateté, Hermann, Paris, coll. "Hermann Philosophie", 2014. ISBN 978-2-7056-8831-8
• Grosz, Elizabeth. The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.
• Guerlac, Suzanne. Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006.
• Horkheimer, Max. "On Bergson's Metaphysics of Time." Trans. Peter Thomas, revised by Stewart Martin. Radical Philosophy 131 (2005) 9–19.
• James, William. "Bergson and his Critique of Intellectualism." In A Pluralistic Universe. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1996. 223–74.
• Lawlor, Leonard. The Challenge of Bergsonism: Phenomenology, Ontology, Ethics. London: Continuum Press, 2003.
• Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. "Bergson." In In Praise of Philosophy and Other Essays. Trans. John O'Neill. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1963. 9–32.
• Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. "Bergson in the Making." In Signs. Trans. Richard McCleary. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1964. 182–91.
• Mullarkey, John. "Bergson and Philosophy." Edinburgh University Press, 1999.
• Mullarkey, John, ed. The New Bergson. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1999.
• Russell, Bertrand "The Philosophy of Bergson". The Monist 22 (1912): 321–47.

External links

Henri Bergsonat Wikipedia's sister projects

• Definitions from Wiktionary
• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• News from Wikinews
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Texts from Wikisource
• Textbooks from Wikibooks
• Resources from Wikiversity
• Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry
• Henri Bergson's theory of laughter. A brief summary.
• « 'A History of Problems' : Bergson and the French Epistemological Tradition », by Elie During
• Gontarski, Stanley E.: Bergson, Henri, in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War.
• M. C. Sanchez Rey « The Bergsonian Philosophy of the Intelligence » translation
• Newspaper clippings about Henri Bergson in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
• Henri Bergson, Nobel Luminaries - Jewish Nobel Prize Winners, on the Beit Hatfutsot-The Museum of the Jewish People Website.

Works online

• Works by Henri Bergson at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Henri Bergson at Internet Archive
• Works by Henri Bergson at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• Works by Henri Bergson at Open Library
• Works by Henri Bergson in French at "La Philosophie"
• Complete works in French on the "Classiques des sciences sociales" website
• L'Évolution créatrice (in the original French, 1907)
o 1911 English translation at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 April 2006) of Creative Evolution (html)
o multiple formats at Internet Archive
• 1910 English translation of Time and Free Will at the Wayback Machine (archived 24 April 2006) (HTML)
o multiple formats at Internet Archive
• 1911 English translation of Matter and Memory at the Wayback Machine (archived 24 April 2006) (HTML)
o multiple formats at Internet Archive
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