Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2381/35672
Title: Piaget's genetic epistemology: A theoretical critique of main epistemic concepts.
Authors: Smith, Leslie
Award date: 1981
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Piaget's theory of genetic epistemology states empirically necessary conditions of a subject's understanding of deductive necessity which is formed by a necessary process of equilibration. The coherence of Piaget's theory, which provides empirical evidence for the resolution of philosophical problems posed by Kant, is defended, Piaget contrasts observable with coordinatory knowledge and denies that logical knowledge arises from the former, based upon perception and consciousness (conceptualisation). Coordinatory knowledge arises in action-coordination. Actions, at physical, representational and propositional levels, utilise different structures. Stages in the development of knowledge are marked by different structures and their logical characterisation does not preclude empirical testing. Deductive necessity is the criterion of the closure of a structure, occurring only at operational levels. Structural change occurs when transcendence of a contradiction- mistake leads to the formation of a new structure. Processes of upper bound equilibration and constructive forms of abstraction and generalisation are necessary for such formation. Functioning is an invariant feature of organic and cognitive life and is manifest in different structural instantiations. Four lines of objection are considered. Operational knowledge is attributed only when a subject uses language to justify a judgement and expresses the universality and necessity of a deduction. In consequence Piaget's accounts of transitivity and inclusion are defended. The theory does not favour physical over social cognition nor intra- over inter-subjective factors. Piaget's account of infancy, especially the Copernican Revolution, contains contradictions whose removal rests upon the attribution of representation to the infant. Piaget's theory is incomplete because it states necessary conditions alone; it posits and leaves unexplained non-deductive necessity; and necessary equilibration occurs only through the i)resence of non-equilibratory factors, Piaget's theory constitutes a skeleton of a theory of knowledge-growth, complementary to non-equilibratory theories. Mistranslation, especially of structuralist and epistemic concepts, mars English editionis of Piaget's work.
Links: http://hdl.handle.net/2381/35672
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: Ph.D.
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Education
Leicester Theses

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