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Piaget and consciousness: Retrospect and prospect

Chapter


Abstract


  • The end of the behaviorist dogma nearly half a century ago was

    accompanied by a renewed interest in consciousness both as a method

    of investigation and as an object of study for scientific psychology.

    Introspection in the first person is again a legitimate method and

    conscious phenomena (subjective experiences of emotions, dreams,

    mental images, inner speech, meta cognition, attentional neglect, brain

    divided, altered states of consciousness, etc.) are objects of study to

    the same extent as observation in the third person of the impact of

    environmental or internal changes on the behavioral and physiological

    reactions of the individuaL Despite some resistance, psychology can

    again be considered as one of the sciences of consciousness. Renewed

    interest in consciousness has been bolstered by the emergence of

    new technologies for the measurement of brain activity (e.g., f-MRI,

    PET-SCAN, new generation of EEG). These innovations have made

    it possible to objectify the individual's introspective reports, thus

    adding some validity to introspective methods or insights, which in

    turn has to some extent validated the psychological interpretation of

    brain activity (e.g., Bayne et al., 2009; Blackmore, 2010; Block, 2007;

    Carter, 2010; Chalmers, 2010; Pons and Doudin, 2007; Velmans and

    Schneider, 2006, for recent reviews).

    Despite this revival, and also perhaps because of it, it is clear that

    it is still difficult today to have a coherent understanding of the realities

    to which consciousness refers to within psychological sciences.

    A reading of this literature sometimes gives the impression that

    every scholar has a different understanding; understandings that are sometimes difficult to grasp, even when they are explained, which is

    not always the case! Despite this conceptual confusion, in this chapter

    we ask whether it is possible today to present a coherent picture of the

    nature, origins, and functions of consciousness. In order to achieve

    this, we will attempt to answer the following three questions: "What

    is consciousness?" "What are the functional origins of consciousness?"

    "What are the functions of consciousness?"

    Our answers to these questions will always be presented in

    two stages. First, we analyze the answers provided in the work of

    Jean Piaget. Indeed, Piaget, along with Freud, is one of few scholars

    in psychology who provided a framework for understanding

    conscious experience as well as answers to these three questions.

    Second, we will discuss Piaget's answers in light of contemporary

    research on consciousness in the cognitive and affective sciences, including ours. Such an approach should allow us to present

    the relatively little-known conceptualization that Piaget had of consciousness,

    to assess its worth in light of contemporary investigations,

    and to measure its influence on contemporary research of consciousness

    including ours.

    The chapter is divided into five sections. We begin by briefly situating

    the concept of consciousness within Piaget's work. We then present

    Piaget's answers to the three questions concerning the nature, functional

    origins, and functions of consciousness, and we examine each

    time how these are treated in contemporary research. We conclude

    with a synthesis of our answers to these three questions and discuss

    implications for future research.

UOW Authors


  •   Pons, Francisco (external author)
  •   Harris, Paul L. (external author)
  •   de Rosnay, Marc

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Pons, F., Harris, P. L. & de Rosnay, M. (2012). Piaget and consciousness: Retrospect and prospect. In E. Marti & C. Rodriguez (Eds.), After Piaget (pp. 95-122). New Brunswick, United States: Transaction Publishers.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781412847650

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/1551

Book Title


  • After Piaget

Start Page


  • 95

End Page


  • 122

Place Of Publication


  • New Brunswick, United States

Abstract


  • The end of the behaviorist dogma nearly half a century ago was

    accompanied by a renewed interest in consciousness both as a method

    of investigation and as an object of study for scientific psychology.

    Introspection in the first person is again a legitimate method and

    conscious phenomena (subjective experiences of emotions, dreams,

    mental images, inner speech, meta cognition, attentional neglect, brain

    divided, altered states of consciousness, etc.) are objects of study to

    the same extent as observation in the third person of the impact of

    environmental or internal changes on the behavioral and physiological

    reactions of the individuaL Despite some resistance, psychology can

    again be considered as one of the sciences of consciousness. Renewed

    interest in consciousness has been bolstered by the emergence of

    new technologies for the measurement of brain activity (e.g., f-MRI,

    PET-SCAN, new generation of EEG). These innovations have made

    it possible to objectify the individual's introspective reports, thus

    adding some validity to introspective methods or insights, which in

    turn has to some extent validated the psychological interpretation of

    brain activity (e.g., Bayne et al., 2009; Blackmore, 2010; Block, 2007;

    Carter, 2010; Chalmers, 2010; Pons and Doudin, 2007; Velmans and

    Schneider, 2006, for recent reviews).

    Despite this revival, and also perhaps because of it, it is clear that

    it is still difficult today to have a coherent understanding of the realities

    to which consciousness refers to within psychological sciences.

    A reading of this literature sometimes gives the impression that

    every scholar has a different understanding; understandings that are sometimes difficult to grasp, even when they are explained, which is

    not always the case! Despite this conceptual confusion, in this chapter

    we ask whether it is possible today to present a coherent picture of the

    nature, origins, and functions of consciousness. In order to achieve

    this, we will attempt to answer the following three questions: "What

    is consciousness?" "What are the functional origins of consciousness?"

    "What are the functions of consciousness?"

    Our answers to these questions will always be presented in

    two stages. First, we analyze the answers provided in the work of

    Jean Piaget. Indeed, Piaget, along with Freud, is one of few scholars

    in psychology who provided a framework for understanding

    conscious experience as well as answers to these three questions.

    Second, we will discuss Piaget's answers in light of contemporary

    research on consciousness in the cognitive and affective sciences, including ours. Such an approach should allow us to present

    the relatively little-known conceptualization that Piaget had of consciousness,

    to assess its worth in light of contemporary investigations,

    and to measure its influence on contemporary research of consciousness

    including ours.

    The chapter is divided into five sections. We begin by briefly situating

    the concept of consciousness within Piaget's work. We then present

    Piaget's answers to the three questions concerning the nature, functional

    origins, and functions of consciousness, and we examine each

    time how these are treated in contemporary research. We conclude

    with a synthesis of our answers to these three questions and discuss

    implications for future research.

UOW Authors


  •   Pons, Francisco (external author)
  •   Harris, Paul L. (external author)
  •   de Rosnay, Marc

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Pons, F., Harris, P. L. & de Rosnay, M. (2012). Piaget and consciousness: Retrospect and prospect. In E. Marti & C. Rodriguez (Eds.), After Piaget (pp. 95-122). New Brunswick, United States: Transaction Publishers.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781412847650

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/1551

Book Title


  • After Piaget

Start Page


  • 95

End Page


  • 122

Place Of Publication


  • New Brunswick, United States