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A collection of quotations by Jean Piaget on psychology, child, education, schooling, writing, thinking, epistemology, development and philosophy.

53 Thought-Provoking Quotes By Jean Piaget On Children, Learning And Psychology

Quick Facts

Born On: August 9, 1896

Died On: September 16, 1980

Born In: Neuchatel

Died At Age: 84

One of the greatest minds in the field of Developmental psychology and epistemology, Jean Piaget was a renowned Swiss clinical psychologist. He gained prominence due to his groundbreaking theories of genetic epistemology, constructivism, egocentrism, theory of cognitive development and object permanence. Influenced by the works of Immanuel Kant, Pierre Janet and James Mark Baldwin, he went on to postulate Piaget's theory of cognitive development and epistemological view. These theories made great contribution towards the development of genetic epistemology. His trailblazing research and theories on child development influenced the likes of Jerome Bruner, Kenneth Kaye, Lawrence Kohlberg, Robert Kegan, Howard Gardner and Thomas Kuhn. Piaget established the ‘International Center for Genetic Epistemology’ in Geneva which went on to be known as “Piaget’s Factory”. Ernst von Glasersfeld went on to state that Jean Piaget was “the great pioneer of the constructivist theory of knowing”. Majority of his ideas went on to receive recognition posthumously, which played a key role in the birth of major sub-discipline in psychology. Here are some of the most enlightening quotes from one of the greatest minds in the field of psychology, which have been excerpted from his work, research, writings and books. Following are some of the most renowned quotations and thoughts by Jean Piaget.

Intelligence is what you use when you don't know what to do.

Jean Piaget

What we see changes what we know. What we know changes what we see.

Jean Piaget

Play is the work of childhood.

Jean Piaget

The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things.

Jean Piaget

I could not think without writing.

Jean Piaget

The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.

Jean Piaget

Play is the answer to how anything new comes about.

Jean Piaget

Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely.

Jean Piaget

It is with children that we have the best chance of studying the development of logical knowledge, mathematical knowledge, physical knowledge, and so forth.

Jean Piaget

Logic and mathematics are nothing but specialised linguistic structures.

Jean Piaget

The child often sees only what he already knows. He projects the whole of his verbal thought into things. He sees mountains as built by men, rivers as dug out with spades, the sun and moon as following us on our walks.

Jean Piaget

Reflective abstraction, however, is based not on individual actions but on coordinated actions.

Jean Piaget

The more the schemata are differentiated, the smaller the gap between the new and the familiar becomes, so that novelty, instead of constituting an annoyance avoided by the subject, becomes a problem and invites searching.

Jean Piaget

To express the same idea in still another way, I think that human knowledge is essentially active.

Jean Piaget

The self thus becomes aware of itself, at least in its practical action, and discovers itself as a cause among other causes and as an object subject to the same laws as other objects.

Jean Piaget

The current state of knowledge is a moment in history, changing just as rapidly as the state of knowledge in the past has ever changed and, in many instances, more rapidly.

Jean Piaget

Knowing reality means constructing systems of transformations that correspond, more or less adequately, to reality.

Jean Piaget

Our problem, from the point of view of psychology and from the point of view of genetic epistemology, is to explain how the transition is made from a lower level of knowledge to a level that is judged to be higher.

Jean Piaget

From the moral as from the intellectual point of view, the child is born neither good nor bad but master of his destiny.

Jean Piaget

On the one hand, there are individual actions such as throwing, pushing, touching, rubbing. It is these individual actions that give rise most of the time to abstraction from objects.

Jean Piaget

One of the most striking things one finds about the child under 7-8 is his extreme assurance on all subjects.

Jean Piaget

This means that no single logic is strong enough to support the total construction of human knowledge.

Jean Piaget

I engage my subjects in conversation, patterned after psychiatric questioning, with the aim of discovering something about the reasoning underlying their right but especially their wrong answers.

Jean Piaget

In genetic epistemology, as in developmental psychology, too, there is never an absolute beginning.

Jean Piaget

The main functions of intelligence, that of inventing solutions and that of verifying them, do not necessarily involve one another. The first partakes of imagination; the second alone is properly logical.

Jean Piaget

Children's games constitute the most admirable social institutions. The game of marbles, for instance, as played by boys, contains an extremely complex system of rules - that is to say, a code of laws, a jurisprudence of its own.

Jean Piaget

Before playing with his equals, the child is influenced by his parents. He is subjected from his cradle to a multiplicity of regulations, and even before language he becomes conscious of certain obligations.

Jean Piaget

Scientific thought, then, is not momentary; it is not a static instance; it is a process.

Jean Piaget

The first type of abstraction from objects I shall refer to as simple abstraction, but the second type I shall call reflective abstraction, using this term in a double sense.

Jean Piaget

Every acquisition of accommodation becomes material for assimilation, but assimilation always resists new accommodations.

Jean Piaget

During the earliest stages the child perceives things like a solipsist who is unaware of himself as subject and is familiar only with his own actions.

Jean Piaget

I always like to think on a problem before reading about it.

Jean Piaget

The practice of narrative and argument does not lead to invention, but it compels a certain coherence of thought.

Jean Piaget

Everyone knows that at the age of 11-12, children have a marked impulse to form themselves into groups and that the respect paid to the rules and regulations of their play constitutes an important feature of this social life.

Jean Piaget

The child of three or four is saturated with adult rules. His universe is dominated by the idea that things are as they ought to be, that everyone's actions conform to laws that are both physical and moral - in a word, that there is a Universal Order.

Jean Piaget

All morality consists in a system of rules, and the essence of all morality is to be sought for in the respect which the individual acquires for these rules.

Jean Piaget

In other words, knowledge of the external world begins with an immediate utilisation of things, whereas knowledge of self is stopped by this purely practical and utilitarian contact.

Jean Piaget

From this time on, the universe is built up into an aggregate of permanent objects connected by causal relations that are independent of the subject and are placed in objective space and time.

Jean Piaget

Logical positivists have never taken psychology into account in their epistemology, but they affirm that logical beings and mathematical beings are nothing but linguistic structures.

Jean Piaget

Childish egocentrism is, in its essence, an inability to differentiate between the ego and the social environment.

Jean Piaget

To accustom the infant to get out of its own difficulties or to calm it by rocking it may be to lay the foundations of a good or of a bad disposition.

Jean Piaget

Egocentrism appears to us as a form of behavior intermediate between purely individual and socialized behavior.

Jean Piaget

Logical reasoning is an argument which we have with ourselves and which reproduces internally the features of a real argument.

Jean Piaget

Logical activity is not the whole of intelligence. One can be intelligent without being particularly logical.

Jean Piaget

I have always detested any departure from reality, an attitude which I relate to my mother's poor mental health.

Jean Piaget

Scientific knowledge is in perpetual evolution; it finds itself changed from one day to the next.

Jean Piaget

During the first few months of an infant's life, its manner of taking the breast, of laying its head on the pillow, etc., becomes crystallized into imperative habits. This is why education must begin in the cradle.

Jean Piaget

Nel, after throwing a stone onto a sloping bank watching the stone rolling said, 'Look at the stone. It's afraid of the grass

Jean Piaget

Every structure is to be thought of as a particular form of equilibrium, more or less stable within its restricted field and losing its stability on reaching the limits of the field.

Jean Piaget

To avoid the difficulties of teleological language, adaptation must be described as an equilibrium between the action of the organism on the environment and vice versa.

Jean Piaget

Every response, whether it be an act directed towards the outside world or an act internalized as thought, takes the form of an adaptation or, better, of a re-adaptation.

Jean Piaget

To reason logically is so to link one's propositions that each should contain the reason for the one succeeding it, and should itself be demonstrated by the one preceding it. Or at any rate, whatever the order adopted in the construction of one's own exposition, it is to demonstrate judgments by each other.

Jean Piaget

With regard to moral rules, the child submits more or less completely in intention to the rules laid down for him, but these, remaining, as it were, external to the subject's conscience, do not really transform his conduct.

Jean Piaget