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Anthony, E.J. (1955). The Construction of Reality in the Child: By Jean Piaget. Translated by Margaret Cook. (New York: Basic Books, 1954. Pp. xiii + 386. $6.00.) The Child's Construction of Reality. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1995. Pp. xiii + 389. 25 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 36:406-407.

(1955). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 36:406-407

The Construction of Reality in the Child: By Jean Piaget. Translated by Margaret Cook. (New York: Basic Books, 1954. Pp. xiii + 386. $6.00.) The Child's Construction of Reality. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1995. Pp. xiii + 389. 25 s.)

Review by:
E. J. Anthony

The world outside our minds (said William James) is chaotic. Every moment threatens to submerge us beneath a welter of sensory experiences that compete for our attention and concentration. As a pre-condition for sanity, we must become selectively imperceptive, and suppress or inhibit a large part of this perceptual bombardment. The immature brain of the infant and the damaged brain lack the capacity to do this, responding in a distracted way to every passing stimulus. Their experience is of a 'booming, buzzing confusion'. To bring law and order into such chaos is one aspect of what Eddington has called 'world making'.

Another aspect is the creation of permanent objects. This implies that a certain genetic point of view postulates an 'objectless' phase in early infantile development that precedes the establishment of a substantial object organized in time and space. This so-called empirical belief considers that the object is gradually created through the warp and woof of maturation and experience. The nativists on the other hand conceive of an object apprehensible from birth. The pre-eminent and most cogent representative of the empirical viewpoint is Piaget and it is with his object concept that this work deals. It is his eleventh book to be translated into English, so that the developmental psychologist (academic or psycho-analytic) has now less excuse for overlooking this formidable system on the grounds of a language barrier. At this 'darkest of all ages' as Miss Freud has termed it, before the concept of a repressed unconscious begins to dichotomize the psychologies, data gleaned from the experimental-observational approach of the non-analyst may find an important niche in psycho-analytical formulations.

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