Epistemology and Psychology of Functionsby J. Piaget, J.B. Grize, A. Szeminska, V. Bang
Pub. Date: 11/30/1977
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Years ago, prompted by Grize, Apostel and Papert, we undertook the study of functions, but until now we did not properly understand the relations between functions and operations, and their increasing interactions at the level of 'constituted functions'. By contrast, certain recent studies on 'constitutive functions', or preoperatory functional schemes, have convinced us of the existence of a sort of logic of functions (springing from the schemes of actions) which is prior to the logic of operations (drawn from the general and reversible coordinations between actions). This preoperatory 'logic' accounts for the very general, and until now unexplained, primacy of order relations between 4 and 7 years of age, which is natural since functions are ordered dependences and result from oriented 'applications'. And while this 'logic' ends up in a positive manner in formalizable structures, it has gaps or limitations. Psychologically, we are interested in understanding the system atic errors due to this primacy of order, such ·as the undifferentiation of 'longer' and 'farther', or the non-conservations caused by ordinal estimations (of levels, etc. ), as opposed to extensive or metric evaluations. In a sense which is psychologically very real, this preoperatory logic of constitutive functions represents only the first half of operatory logic, if this can be said, and it is reversibility which allows the construction of the other half by completing the initial one-way structures.
Table of ContentsI/From Constitutive Functions to Constituted Functions.- 1. The Coordination of Pairs.- 2. From Constitutive Functions to Equivalence Classes.- 3. From Regularities to Proportionalities.- 4. An Example of Causal and Spatial Functions.- 5. From Coproperties to Covariations: The Equalization and Estimation of Inequalities.- 6. The Composition of Differences: Unequal Partitions.- 7. An Example of the Composition of the Variations of Variations.- II/The Quantification of Constituted Functions.- 8. The Functional Relation between the Increase and the Decrease of Both Sides of a Rectangle Having a Constant Perimeter The Transformations of the Perimeter of a Square.- 9. Serial Regularities and Proportions.- 10. The Relation between the Size of a Wheel and the Distance Travelled.- 11. The Establishment of a Functional Relation among Several Variables: Distance Travelled, Wheel Size and Rotational Frequency.- 12. The Inverse Proportional Relationship between Weight W and Distance D (Arm of a Lever) in the Equilibrium of a Balance.- 13. Conclusion of Chapters 8 to 12: The General Evolution of Behaviors.- III/Theoretical Problems.- 14. Analyses to Aid in the Epistemological Study of the Notion of Function.- 15. General Conclusions.
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