Experience Is Structured Along Subject And Object Poles

Logic Of The Spontaneous Organization Of Activity In The Thought Of Piaget

“There seems to be little evidence that Cassirer, Mead, and Piaget ever had much
direct influence on one another. This makes all the more interesting their
convergence on a common point of view.” [Don Martindale, 1981, p.339] Indeed,
whereas Cassirer found the origin and evolution of symbolic meaning to reside in
the “work” of man, Piaget, in a like manner, put the origin of structure and the
symbolic content that it generates, in the organisms capacity for action. Howard
Gardner has this to say regarding the priority of the act in Piaget’s psychology:

“Piaget reached a crucial insight: the activity of an organism can be described
or treated logically, and logic itself stems from a sort of spontaneous
organization of activity. At this time he also formulated the notion that all
organisms consist of structures–i.e., of parts related within a whole–and that
all knowledge is an assimilation of a given external into the structures of the
subject.” [Howard Gardner, The Quest for Mind, Piaget, Levi-Strauss, and the
Structuralist Movement, 1973, p.54]

In addition to the similarity that occurs in Cassirer’s and Piaget’s concepts
of “work” and “action” the thought of these two men converge in another respect
also. Both men believed that the subject and object poles of experience are not
simply “given.” Rather, for Cassirer and Piaget, the subject and object poles
of experience are “products of experience.” As we have already seen, Cassirer
came to this conclusion, at least in part, based on his studies of Pre-modern
man’s mythology. Piaget, on the other hand, arrived at this conclusion as a
result of his investigations into the language acquisition of young children. In
a study of early two-word utterances Piaget (1951) “was able to show how the
subject pole and object pole of a child’s experience remains undissociated in
the early stages of language development.” [Edited by B.Z. Presseisen, Topics in
Cognitive Development, 1978, p.7]

For Piaget, the long and active process that results in what we take to be the
knowledge of our objective and subjective experience begins in the recognition
and coordination of sensorimotor activity. By locating the source of cognitive
structure in the sensorimotor activity of babies, Piaget opened up the
possibility that structure was grounded in nature and not in mind. In his
investigations Piaget inquired into the source of this structure. He asked the
question, “Did structure lie in man, nature, or both? In an attempt to answer
this question Piaget offers us his own constructionist structuralist method.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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One Response to Experience Is Structured Along Subject And Object Poles

  1. bwinwnbwi says:

    “By locating the source of cognitive structure in the sensorimotor activity of babies, Piaget opened up the possibility that structure was grounded in nature and not in mind. In his investigations Piaget inquired into the source of this structure. He asked the question, “Did structure lie in man, nature, or both?” Quote from above

    The answer is both! Structure is the condition that allows X to be inferred from Y. Structure (the affirmative ideal) is the self-existent reality that co-exists along with science (and everything else).

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