chapter  IV
46 Pages

—Realism and the Origin of the Idea of Participation

THE aim of this chapter is to trace the consequences of the realism analysed in the preceding chapters. It is first, however, necessary to state definitely the real significance of our researches on the notion of thought, nominal realism and dreams; since otherwise the interpretation of our material may give rise to the gravest misconceptions. The impression may have been formed that we endow children, if not with actual theories, at any rate with clear and spontaneously formulated ideas, as to the nature of thought and of names and dreams. But nothing has been further from our intention. We readily agree that children have never or hardly ever reflected on the matters on which they were questioned. The experiments aimed, therefore, not at examining ideas the children had already thought out, but at seeing how their ideas are formed in response to certain questions and principally in what direction their spontaneous attitude of mind tends to lead them.