chapter  V
58 Pages

-Summary and Conclusions

ROUSSEAU loved to say that the child is not a small grown-up, but has needs of his own, and a mentality adapted to these needs. Contemporary studies of the language and drawmg of chIldren have often emphasized the truth of this view. Karl Groos, in his' theory of play' has given particular weight to this statement, and ClaparMe has developed it extensively from the functional point of view. The time, therefore, seems ripe for raising the question whether chIld thought, which differentiates itself from every other kind of thought, both by the interests which guide it, and by its means of expression, cannot also be distinguished by its logical structure and method of functioning. This is the view which we shall now attempt to develop, at least schematically, and without renewing any detailed discussion of the phenomena. For the purpose of attempting this synthesis, we have

200 JUDGMENT AND REASONING in our possession a certam number of observations made in the course of our own studies,on the thought of the child, or m the course of other enquiries, conducted by the method of tests. In addition to this, several works dealing with the language, the drawings, and the perceptions of children have furnished us with first-rate information on the subject of his thought. The material collected in this way can be grouped under a certain number of headings: ego-centrism of thought, intellectual realism, syncretism, inability to understand relations, difficulties in using logical mUltiplication, etc, etc. The problem can be stated as follows: Do these phenomena form an incoherent whole, that is to say, are they due to a series of accidental and fragmentary causes, unrelated to each other, or do they form a coherent whole, and thus constitute a logic of their own? The truth would seem to lie between the two. The chIld's mind shows signs of having a structure of its own, but its development IS subject to contingent circumstances. The question is, where does the role of the original structure end and that of the contingent circumstances begin? The only answer lies in the attempt to explain the characteristics of child logic by each other. If they can be synthesized in this way, even though the method seem for the moment to involve us in a vicious circle, it means that the thought of the child is coherent and sui generis.