This essay takes—as its point of departure—Cavicchi's (2006) argument that knowledge develops through experimentation, both in science and in educational settings. In attempting to support and extend her conclusions, which are drawn in part from the replication of some early tasks in the history of developmental psychology, the late realist-constructivist theory of Jean Piaget is presented and summarized. This is then turned back on the subjects of Cavicchi's larger enquiry (education and science) to offer a firmer foundation for future debate. Several of Piaget's “forgotten works” are discussed; their theoretical contributions synthesized to form a single interdisciplinary, crosspollinating narrative describing how it is that both children and scientists grow into the world. (In addition, translated excerpts from two related historical documents have been provided in an appendix, while detailed footnotes add further context and integrate the discussion with current advances in related fields.)

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Author notes

Jeremy Burman is a PhD student in the History and Theory program at York University in Toronto, Canada. His current research focuses primarily on the forgotten works of Jean Piaget, building on a master's degree examining the transition from his well-known “third” (structuralist) period to a largely unknown “fourth” (structural-functionalist) period. Prior to returning to academia, Burman was a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.