Reflexive Abstraction and Education

The Meaning of Activity in Piaget’s Theory
  • Jeanette McCarthy Gallagher


It is no exaggeration to state that misinterpretations of the concept of activity in Piagetian theory have been the stumbling block to effective application of that theory to educational practice. The purpose of this chapter is to clarify the meaning of activity in relation to reflexive abstraction and to provide some new directions to interpretation and application.


Cognitive Development Pantheon Book Constructive Generalization Piagetian Theory Disturbed Water 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beth, E. W., and Piaget, J., 1966. Mathematical epistemology and psychology. Dordrecht-Holland: D. Reidel.Google Scholar
  2. Bourquin, J. F. A case of constructive generalization typical of stage III. In J. Piaget (Ed.), Constructive generalization, in press.Google Scholar
  3. Brun, J., 1975. Education mathématique et développement intellectuel. Recherche à propos de l’enseignement rénové de la mathématique sur des enfants en fin de scolarité primaire. Thèse pour le Doctorat de 3e cycle (Psychologie) présentée devant l’Université de Lyon II.Google Scholar
  4. Bruner, J., 1973. In J. M. Anglin (Ed.), Beyond the information given: Studies in the psychology of knowing. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Elkind, D., 1976. Child development and education: A Piagetian perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Gallagher, J. M., 1977. Piaget’s equilibration theory: Biological, cybernetic, and logical roots. In M. Appel and L. Goldberg (Eds.), Topics in cognitive development. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  7. Gallagher, J. M., 1978. The future of formal thought: The study of analogy and metaphor. In B. Presseisen, D. Goldstein, and M. Appel (Eds.), Studies in language and thought. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  8. Gallagher, J. M., and Wright, R. J., 1977. Children’s solution of verbal analogies: Extension of Piaget’s concept of reflexive abstraction. Paper presented at the symposium “Thinking with the left hand: Children’s understanding of analogy and metaphor.” New Orleans: Society for Research in Child Development.Google Scholar
  9. Gallagher, J. M., and Wright, R. J. Structure of analogy items: A Piagetian interpretation. In J. Magary (Ed.), Piaget and the helping professions. (Vol. 8). Los Angeles: University of Southern California, in press.Google Scholar
  10. Gallagher, J. M., and Reid, D. K. The learning theory of Piaget and Inhelder. Monterey, Calif.: Brooks/Cole, in press.Google Scholar
  11. Inhelder, B., 1977. Genetic epistemology and developmental psychology. In R. W. Rieber and K. Salzinger (Eds.), The roots of American psychology. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, p. 291.Google Scholar
  12. Inhelder, B., Sinclair, H., and Bovet, M., 1974. Learning and the development of cognition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Moessinger, P., 1977. Piaget on contradiction. Human Development, 20, 178–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Piaget, J., 1952. Autobiography. In E. G. Boring et al. (Eds.), History of psychology in autobiography (Vol. IV). Worcester, Mass.: Clark University Press, pp. 237–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Piaget, J., 1967. Intelligence et adaptation biologique. In F. Bresson (Eds.), Les processus d’adaptation. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  16. Piaget, J., 1969. The mechanisms of perception. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  17. Piaget, J., 1970. Piaget’s theory. In P. H. Müssen (Ed.), Carmichael’s manual of child psychology (Vol. 1). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. Piaget, J., 1971a. Biology and knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. Piaget, J., 1971b. Insights and illusions of philosophy. New York: World. (Original French edition, 1965.)Google Scholar
  20. Piaget, J., 1974a. Recherches sur la contradiction (Vol. I). Les différentes formes de la contradiction: Etudes d’épistémologie génétique (Vol. XXXI). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  21. Piaget, J., 1974b. Recherches sur la contradiction (Vol. II). Les relations entre affirmations et négations: Etudes d’ épistémologie génétique (Vol. XXXII). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  22. Piaget, J., 1974c. Adaptation vitale et psychologie de l’intelligence: La notion de la phenocapie. Genève: Droz.Google Scholar
  23. Piaget, J., 1975a. From noise to order: The psychological development of knowledge and phenocopy in biology. The Urban Review, 8. Google Scholar
  24. Piaget, J., 1975b. L’équilibration des structures cognitives: Problème central du développement. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. (Trans. A. Rosin, 1977. The development of thought. New York: Viking.)Google Scholar
  25. Piaget, J., 1976. The grasp of consciousness: Action and concept in the young child, Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Piaget, J., 1977a. Chance and dialectic in biological epistemology: A critical analysis of Jacques Monod’s theses. In W. F. Overton and J. M. Gallagher (Eds.), Knowledge and development (Vol. I): Advances in Research and Theory. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  27. Piaget, J., 1977b. The role of action in the development of thinking. In W. Overton and J. Gallagher (Eds.), Knowledge and development (Vol. 1): Advances in research and theory. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  28. Piaget, J., 1977c. L’abstraction réfléchissante. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  29. Piaget, J. (with J. Montangero and J. Billeter), 1977d. Les correlats. In L’abstraction réfléchissante. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  30. Piaget, J. Behaviormotor of evolution. New York: Pantheon Books, in press (a).Google Scholar
  31. Piaget, J. La généralisation constructive. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, in press (b).Google Scholar
  32. Sigel, I. E., 1970. The distancing hypothesis: A causal hypothesis for the acquisition of representational thought. In M. R. Jones (Ed.), The effects of early experience. Miami: University of Miami Press.Google Scholar
  33. Sigel, I. E., and Cocking, R. R., 1977. Cognitive development from childhood to adolescence: A constructivist perspective. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  34. Silberman, C. E., 1970. Crisis in the classroom: The remaking of American education. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  35. Sternberg, R., 1977. Intelligence, information processing, and analogical reasoning. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  36. Voyat, G. Preface. In J. Piaget, Behaviormotor of evolution. New York: Pantheon Books, in press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeanette McCarthy Gallagher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of General Educational PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations