Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget, the great developmental psychologist, viewed consciousness as central to psychological study. Therefore, he sought to find ways to make its study scientific. To do so, Piaget dealt in great detail with the meaning of the subject-object and mind-body problems. Piaget argued that consciousness is not simply a subjective phenomenon; if it were, it would be unacceptable for scientific psychology. Indeed, Piaget maintained that conscious phenomena play an important and distinctive role in human behavior. Moreover, he directed research to examine the way in which consciousness is formed, its origins, stages, and processes. Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon, nor can psychologists reduce it to physiological phenomena. For Piaget, consciousness involves a constructed subjective awareness. It is a developmen-tally constructed process, not a product. It results from interaction with the environment, not from the environment's action on it: "[T]he process ofbe-

coming conscious of an action scheme transforms it into a concept; thus becoming conscious consists essentially in conceptualization."

There are two relationships necessary for the understanding of consciousness. The first is that of subject and object. The second is the relationship between cognitive activity and neural activity. Both are essential to getting at the process of cognition and its dynamic nature.

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