Jean Piaget, a Swiss epistemologist, became internationally known as a “psychologist”. As an epistemologist, he focussed on understanding knowledge as the result of developmental processes. His child development theory is what made him famous as psychologist. Einstein praised him as a genius.
His works comprise so many domains that it is difficult to summarize all scientific contributions that he has provided to disciplines as different as logic and sociology. Even not being a communication scholar, he left solid foundations with regards to communicative processes and the scientific status of communication as a discipline.
Piaget detranscendantalized Kantian philosophy through the organism. In other words, he suggested that the Kantian a priori could be understood as the genetic possibilities of the brain. However, he added that these possibilities are actualized and developed over time. What is “given” is, according to his judgment, is the possibility to “construct”. He is the father of Western constructivist epistemology. Unfortunately, after the publication of his works, many scientists borrowed many of his contributions without making references to him and, worse, changing his intended meanings, presenting them either as poor empiricist or phenomenological formulations. This lack of respect for authorship did not change the nature of Piaget’s monumental works. He offered very important contributions to communication scholars because he unveiled the development of moral thinking and, implicitly, suggested that “values exchanges”, i.e. communication is, in fact, an ethical domain.
For additional information about Piaget, please consult web resources such as the Archives Jean Piaget.