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Jerome Bruner's theory of education: From early Bruner to later Bruner

by Keiichi Takaya
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I had started this adventure in autobiography in the hope that I might somehow manage to weave together the personal, the early, the "primitive" in my life with the less personal, more intellectual, more directional. But such a process of weaving is so much like the constructing of myths! One inevitably renders everything not so much explicable as, at least, "reasonable" or "compatible." It is very "reasonable" that somebody who had been born blind, with sight restored at age two, should initially have been interested in the part of psychology about perception, should have maintained that interest throughout his life. Why, then, did I never study the blind themselves (displacement?) or why did I, in effect, use the study of perception as an entry port into the investigation of motivation and cognition? A good myth can be made about that, too, this time based on cultural background. Perhaps it was the skepticism of the Judeo-Christian tradition that led me to opt for the study of the relation between appearance and reality and man's capacity for self-deception, rather than the Hellenic assumption that man is the measure. Did the skeptical seed grow in the soil of a secular, unreligious Jewish background? Perhaps. In the end, I find myself in a posture not unlike that of the New Criticism in literature: One had better understand the poem as an entity, a product in itself, rather than as a growth from the thicket of the poet's psychic life. It is not that I do not believe in "psychohistory" or the psychological side of intellectual autobiography. Rather, the effort to understand ideas in their web-whether in my own psychoanalysis over several years, or retrospectively now-is not much helped by tracing their personal roots. The ideas, once sprung, have a reality of their own. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (from the chapter)

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