Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn.
Reflective abstraction, however, is based not on individual actions but on coordinated actions.
In genetic epistemology, as in developmental psychology, too, there is never an absolute beginning.
To express the same idea in still another way, I think that human knowledge is essentially active.
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.
Scientific knowledge is in perpetual evolution it finds itself changed from one day to the next.
Knowing reality means constructing systems of transformations that correspond, more or less adequately, to reality.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every acquisition of accommodation becomes material for assimilation, but assimilation always resists new accommodations.
The materialistic point of view in psychology can claim, at best, only the value of an heuristic hypothesis.
Physiology seeks to derive the processes in our own nervous system from general physical forces, without considering whether these processes are or are not accompanied by processes of consciousness.
Physiology and psychology cover, between them, the field of vital phenomena they deal with the facts of life at large, and in particular with the facts of human life.
Physiological psychology, on the other hand, is competent to investigate the relations that hold between the processes of the physical and those of the mental life.
Physiological psychology is, therefore, first of all psychology.
Philosophical reflection could not leave the relation of mind and spirit in the obscurity which had satisfied the needs of the naive consciousness.
On the other hand, ethnic psychology must always come to the assistance of individual psychology, when the developmental forms of the complex mental processes are in question.
Hence, wherever we meet with vital phenomena that present the two aspects, physical and psychical there naturally arises a question as to the relations in which these aspects stand to each other.
From the standpoint of observation, then, we must regard it as a highly probable hypothesis that the beginnings of the mental life date from as far back as the beginnings of life at large.
Contractile movements arise, sometimes at the instigation of external stimuli but sometimes also in the absence of any apparent external influence.
Child psychology and animal psychology are of relatively slight importance, as compared with the sciences which deal with the corresponding physiological problems of ontogeny and phylogeny.
They show that roughly two-thirds of a group of neurotic patients will recover or improve to a marked extent within about two years of the onset of their illness, whether they are treated by means of psychotherapy or not.
There thus appears to be an inverse correlation between recovery and psychotherapy the more psychotherapy, the smaller the recovery rate.