Children Making History

  • Hans G. Furth


In Study 7 the anthropologist Toren (1993) makes the extraordinary claim that a systematic study of how children “bring forth” their (knowledge of the) world is crucial for an adequate anthropological analysis of the adult society. For a theory of knowledge Toren mainly followed the biological thinking of two neurophysiologists: Maturana and Valera (1972; 1987) posited organizational autonomy and autopoesis as proper to all living systems and as a consequence considered knowledge as constitutive (making) rather than as representational (copying). They carefully pointed to the pitfalls of confusing our own semantic description with the biological reality. Their theory is thus fundamentally opposed to much of current cognitivist language, such as information, representation, or internalization. Relevant to the present work is the authors’ rejection of the very notion of an individual (as opposed to social) ontogenesis in social animals. I can see Piaget’s work and my own expansion as filling in critical areas (such as the specifics of object- and symbol-formation or of human societies) in which Maturana and Valera mounted no original research.


Racial Category Moral Evaluation Adult Society Cognitive Construction Collective Relation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans G. Furth
    • 1
  1. 1.The Catholic University of AmericaUSA

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