ERIC Number: ED219297
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: 0
"Mesogeny" (Milieu-Mediated Maturation) Versus Endogeny: A Crucial Underemphasis in Piaget's "Internally-Caused" Phases.
Burger, Henry G.
The author credits Piaget for giving an operational definition of deduction and for his descriptions of child behavior. But he states that the latter apply only to white, middle-class urban youths in Switzerland in the first half of the 20th century and cannot support Piaget's claims about invariant stages of intellectual development for all youths in all cultures. The author characterizes Piaget's 50 books and 160 articles as overlapping and contradictory, still obscure despite a vast flood of supportive literature by others. Piaget's theory of development is described as static, unscientific, and internally inconsistent, comparable to the medieval theory of phlogiston. While Burger states that the theory is mainly definitional and therefore mostly untestable, he alludes to 29 propositions derived from Piaget which have been contradicted by 150 field reports from over three dozen cultures. He attributes the continuing popularity of Piaget's theory to the current fascination with childhood and science and to an intellectual vacuum that exists for explaining learning. The alternative to Piaget proposed but not elaborated is a cultural theory of learning that admits a wide diversity in patterns or sequences of intellectual development in different cultures. This is variously referred to as cultural anthropology, cognitive anthropology, and mesogeny, the latter a coined term indicating a relationship between biological inheritance and environment, between nature and nurture, that resembles Darwinian evolution. (IM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Piaget (Jean); Piagetian Stages; Piagetian Theory
Note: For related document, see SO 014 041.