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The Genetic Epistemologist

Winter 1995

Volume XXIII, Number 1

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Michael ChandlerIs this the end of "The Age of Development," or what?
Or: Please Wait a minute, Mr. Post-Man.
Terrance BrownFrom the President...
David S. PalermoAnother horse to pasture
Terrance BrownCall for Symposium Proposals

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From the President...

Terrance Brown

My first message as president began with a well deserved thank you to my predecessor, Jack Meacham, who had gone out of his way to involve me in the affairs of the society and to help me understand how things worked. My last message as president must, with equal justice, begin with an expression of heartfelt gratitude to my successor, Michael Chandler, who has gone far beyond what is required as President-Elect to help begin restructuring the board so that it can carry out new programs instituted to insure the society's future. Whatever my failings, they would have been much greater without Michael's help.

It is difficult to know just what to say. My reflections about the years as president, however powerful for me, seem trite in our age of hard-sell rhetoric where anything is said and feeling comes cheap. It has been an honor to serve as president of the society, to be surrounded by colleagues of such class, to be part of an organization where, as Katherine Nelson recently said to me, "intellectual things happen." When I began translating Piaget in the late seventies, I had no idea that this office would come to me. I only wanted my students to read a few things that were unavailable in English. At the time, I even shied away from JPS, imagining that it must be some sort of cult. It was not until 1987 that my despair over psychiatry's conception of mind in terms of brain and thorazine drove me to my first JPS symposium. I was willing to try anything except antidepressants.

As president, I have presided over many changes, some begun before I arrived, some encouraged by me. Their overall thrust has been to open the society up to a wider audience. In no case has their purpose been to produce converts to Piaget. If there is any doctrine that the society wishes to promote, it is something like: "We are interested in people who think about what knowledge is and where it comes from. If you have similar interests, come and join us." (That, of course, is completely Piagetian.)

Concretely, the society has begun having meetings at different sites, and it has increased efforts to enroll both national and international members. The board is reorganizing in ways that will allow it to operate in much more wide-open fashion, and it is seeking ways to involve members more fully in the workings of the society. We have a fine symposium coming up, and we will be represented in at least three centennial celebrations of Piaget's birth, most notably our own, but not in a retrospective spirit. We want to represent, according to Michael's felicitous metaphor, the cambium layer of Piagetian thought, not the supporting wood.

But enough. I am no good at good-byes. No matter how I cut it, I end up with a list. Michael has written a wonderfully provocative article for this edition of the GE. Your time is better spent reading that and, if you feel the urge, sending commentary on it. This old horse is willingly put out to pasture. But he thanks you for the privilege of being your colleague and your president.

I give this heavy weight from off my head . . .
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart.
Etc, etc.

See you in Berkeley,

Terry Brown

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Another horse to pasture

David S. Palermo

To continue Terry's metaphor of a horse being put out to pasture, I will take this opportunity to take the same leave. With this issue, a great one if I do say so myself, I will turn the reins over to a new editor. I have enjoyed my opportunity to serve the Society. I look forward to reading future issues of the GE without the responsibility of producing it.

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Call for Symposium Proposals

Terrance Brown

The Board of Directors invites you to submit proposals for annual symposia on themes that interest you and that you believe would interest your fellow members. Proposals should include a brief statement of the theme and the reasons that you think that it is important as well as a list of potential plenary speakers. Until a program committee is approved and constituted, proposals should be sent to:

Terrance Brown
President, JPS
542 Dearborn St., Suite 410
Chicago, IL 60605 (USA)

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