Essay about Jean Piaget: The Man Behind the Lab Coat
4555 Words19 Pages
Jean Piaget: The Man Behind the Lab Coat
Jean Piaget's legacy is one that has affected a wide disparity of disciplines. Commonly acknowledged as one of the foremost psychologists of the 20th century, certainly the premiere child developmental psychologist, Piaget preferred to be referred to as a genetic epistemologist. This is because he identified child psychology as being limited to merely the study of the child, whereas his main focus was the study of the origins, characteristics, and limitations of knowledge, usually as seen in the development in children. It has been said of him that "he approached questions up until then exclusively philosophical, in a resolutely empirical manner, and made epistemology (the study of knowledge),…show more content… Although this only marginally places him in the 19th century, he was greatly influenced by the great thinkers of that period, especially their views on evolutionary development. Because of them, Piaget was very interested in the mechanisms of biological adaption, and in the analysis of another form of adaption-- scientific thought. It is important though to remember that at that time, the field of psychology was strongly related to the areas of philosophy, physics, physiology, and religion. Psychology itself was less than a century old when Piaget began his studies of it in 1921, which meant that psychology was still in a state of enormous change.
Jean Piaget was the oldest of three children, and the only boy. He grew up in an environment conductive to learning, because although the city of Neuchatel was not very large, during his youth it experienced a sudden surge in educational institutions. Among these, was his future university. Piaget came from a middle-class family, with parents that were considered rather unconventional. His father was a highly respected historian, whose opinions at times were thought to be controversial. Piaget was greatly influenced by him, especially by his belief in the value of systematic work, even in the small matters. His relationship with his mother was more difficult. In many ways she was a warm person, with strong convictions, and an interest in social reform. It is inferred however that she had a rather neurotic