Terrance A. Brown (27 August 1939 – 11 July 2005)
July 11, 2005, Terry Brown, a remarkable Piagetian scholar, a former
JPS President, and a close personal friend to many Society members, was
tragically killed in an auto accident.
Terry was irreplaceable—instrumental in the growth and intellectual
focus of the Society, he was a brilliant scholar who inspired us. He
brought tremendous intellectual energy and wisdom to the Jean Piaget
Society. Terry will be sorely missed by all.
A tribute to Terry will be held the 36th
Annual Meeting in Baltimore.
[Friends and colleagues of Terry are invited to visit www.terranceabrown.com to
add their thoughts to an on-line book of remembrance]
from the Chicago Tribune]
improvident death snatches away those close to our hearts, an important
part of what is also lost is the chance to have said our last goodbyes.
Ordinarily we can do little more with such regrets than wonder what might
or should have been said.
Although it was a decade ago, and in the closing moments of his Presidency
of JPS, Terry had, what must now pass as an opportunity to say goodbye
to his friends and colleagues—at least those in the Society. As
he always did, he would have (had fate given him the opportunity) found
a different and still more elegant way of saying it all again. Still, the
tone and quality of his earlier remarks are both vintage-Terry, and,
no doubt, his sentiments until the end.
What follows, then, is a lightly edited (i.e., shorter) version of
his earlier goodbyes—circa 1995—remarks that appeared earlier
in the Genetic
It is difficult to know just what to say. My reflections about
my 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 ... 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
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.
TRIBUTES FROM MEMBERS OF JPS
If you would like to add your own thoughts to this list of remembrances,
please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is such terrible and sad
us personally and for the Jean Piaget Society.
Besides many other situations I particularly remember when he visited
Berlin as JPS president and we spent a sunny afternoon in our garden
and a wonderful evening at the Royal Palace in Potsdam and a beautiful
lake—drinking good wine and talking about psychology and the
Jean Piaget to whom he had dedicated his effort and intelligence
We fondly remember Terry as the most European of American minds.
Wolfgang Edelstein, Ph.D., Professor and Director Emeritus
Ph.D., PD, Senior Researcher
Max-Planck-Institute of Human Development
We have lost the best sort of friend and colleague and we would be all
the poorer, were it not for the warm memories of Terry's company. His
contributions to the intellectual life of the Jean Piaget Society are
well known. We all have special memories of Terry that will sustain us
in this time of grief. Here is mine.
During the JPS meeting in Toronto last year, Terry and I were invited
to a dinner party at the home of a local colleague. Thinking it good
form to arrive bearing wine, we stopped at a local shop for something
suitable. I kept trying to entice Terry into the section of the shop
containing Canadian wines. Terry giggled.
It was in reference to an old joke we had shared about a Canadian
at a restaurant in Paris trying to send back a bottle wine. When the
waiter looked down his nose, the Canadian opined: "Look, I'm Canadian,
we know bad wine."
Firmly planted in the French wine aisle, Terry grinned that mischievous
grin and noted that "Life is too short to drink bad wine."
We had fine wine that night, a fine dinner, and a long and deeply satisfying
conversation that ranged from Piaget to Tibet to modern art and the mysteries
of horses (at least they were mysteries to me). I will treasure the image
of that grin and the memory of that conversation.
To Wendy I offer my deepest sympathies. Terry was too good to be taken
from us, but we're all richer for having known him.
University of Victoria
Terry gained and deserved our admiration both for his academic work
and for the person he was. The tragedy this week is one in which we are
all losers. Yet what Terry set for us was a fine example of rare distinction,
and in this we are all in his considerable debt.
As a person, Terry was so good to be with. I first met him at the
1990 JPS conference in Philadelphia. He wore a high-class suit - and
did he wear it well! He had arranged for a band of translators to meet
at a restaurant with a decent menu but relaxed in style. His was a
smart mind with an enviable capacity to ask good questions and make
astute comments. These were often expressed either as befits a man
on the range from Wyoming or at a level well above the standard in
academe today. Wit and
charm were in abundance. To be in his company was to be made to feel
special, effortlessly and with ease, but without artifice. At the 1994
JPS in Chicago, Terry arranged for some "internationals" to
enjoy the delights of an Italian meal in the Loop - a delight I well
remember, though not alas the particular year of the Barolo that
Terry negotiated with the Maitre D'. Last year at a
bar in Chicago was, for me, the finest couple of hours with Terry at
his convivial best. To top that, he had a copy of a recently published
French book included in which were three short papers on "Reason" written
by Jean Piaget in 1980. We talked about what could be done with
them. Terry was tied up - more on this next. But I reckoned this
was something I could take on. His parting line to me last year was fateful - "We
should do this more often".
As a savant, Terry made distinctive contributions in two ways, one
to Piagetian scholarship, the other to psychology and epistemology. In
the late 1980s, serendipity had led me to a superb paper written in
English by Terry [with Lee Weiss] in Archives dePsychologie [1987;
reprinted in my 1992 book]. This paper is a "must read". The
argument went something like this. In psychology, "cold cognition" is
not even half a story about the human mind, but rather a set of characters
waiting for the plot. The outline of the main plot was there for us all
- indeed, most of us will have flicked over it in reading §2
of the opening chapter of Piaget's first book on infancy. You know the
Table about Biological Function and Categories of Reason - the one we
read with eyes wide shut. Terry did two things. One was to sketch
an account of the mind in which intelligence and affectivity make an
inter-dependent contribution. Central to knowing are feelings and values,
and their centrality is explicit in Piaget's Table. What Terry wanted
to do was to set out an interpretation of Piaget's account on the basis
of this centrality. To that end and for the public record, he had translated
Piaget's 1954 Sorbonne lectures into English as Intelligence and
Affectivity in 1981. This combination - an English translation and
novel interpretation - is an achievement of some distinction. Equally
important was a second translation [with Kishore Thampy] of Piaget's Equilibration
of CognitiveStructures in 1985. This book dealt with Piaget's
main construct, and so is also a contribution to the public record. We
worked together on a couple of books. Terry contributed two chapters
to the translation of Piaget's Sociological Studies in 1995,
and I assisted him in our edited book on Reductionism in 2003.
For Terry, the real issue was a better psychology and epistemology.
His 1987 paper had identified other Genevan work due to Bärbel Inhelder
and Guy Céllerier. In 2004, Terry was completing
for English publication their 1992 book providing a synthesis [working
to Children's Discoveries]. The synthesis covered the functional
aspects, notably children's procedural discoveries, in the growth of
knowledge structures with special reference to cybernetics and AI. An
open question is the extent to which this synthesis is compatible with
the main argument of Terry's 1987 paper. To say the least, this strikes
me as something worth pursuing.
Yes—we are all in Terry's considerable debt. I for one miss him dearly.
Lake District UK
Terrible news indeed ! I had such a close relation with him for a long
time and, unexpectedly, he did not come to meetings anymore, did not
write or call ; a painful preparation for the final and absurd loss of
today. I will remember him dearly.
Jean Piaget Archives, Geneva
What very sad news. Terry was a humane and interesting, in the best
sense, person. A great loss to all of us.
Université du Québec à Montréal
The news of Terry's tragic death brought great sadness to me. Terry
was a good friend and valued colleague in the workings of the Jean Piaget
Society. His contributions to the Society were immense. I enjoyed working
with him, and had very good times in many social occasions. He was fun
to be with. We will all miss him.
University of California, Berkeley
By T'ao Ch'ien (AD 372-427) From Substance, Shadow, and Spirit - Translated
by Arthur Waley
Heaven and Earth exist for ever:
Mountains and rivers never change.
But herbs and trees in perpetual rotation
Are renovated and withered by the dews and frosts:
And Man the wise, Man the divine--
Shall he alone escape this law?
Fortuitoussly appearing for a moment in the World
He suddenly departs, never to return.
How can he know that the friends he has left
Are missing him and thinking of him?
Only the things that he used remain;
They look upon them and their tears flow.
University of California, San Francisco
This list is incomplete. If you know of other publications,
or find errors below, please contact Les Smith (email@example.com)
Brown, T. (1981). Intelligence and affectivity. [Translation
of Jean Piaget Intelligence et affectivité]. Palo Alto,
CA: Annual Review Monographs
Brown, T. & Thampy, K. (1985). The equilibration
of cognitive structures. [Translation, Jean Piaget, Equilibration
des structures cognitives]. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Reed, E., Turiel, E., Brown, T. (1996). Values and knowledge.
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Brown, T. & Smith, L. (2003). Reductionism and the development
of knowledge. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Brown, T. (in preparation). Pathway to
[Translation of Bärbel Inhelder & Guy Cellérier (eds). Le
cheminement des découvertes de l'enfant.] [The available
ms is a complete translation awaiting publication]
Brown, T. (1980). Foreword. In J. Piaget, Experiments in contradiction.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Brown, T. (1986). Holzman's fences: chauvinism or confusion. Archives
of General Psychiatry, 43, 910-12.
Brown, T. & Weiss, L. (1987). Structures, procedures,
heuristics and affectivity. Archives de Psychologie, 55, 59-94.
Reprinted in L. Smith (1992). Jean Piaget: critical assessments.
Vol. 4. London: Routledge
Brown, T. (1988). Ships in the night. Human Development,
Brown, T. (1988). Why Vygotsky? The role of social interaction
in constructing knowledge. The Quarterly Newsletter of the Laboratory
of Human Cognition,
Brown, T. (1990). The biological significance of affectivity.
In N. Stein, D. Leventhal, T. Trabasso (eds). Biological and psychological
perspectives on emotion. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Brown, T. (1991). Psychiatry's unholy marriage: psychoanalysis
and neuroscience. In D. Offer & M. Sabshin (eds). The diversity
of normal behaviour.
New York: Basic books.
Brown, T. (1993). Affective dimensions of meaning.
In W. Overton & D.
Palermo (eds). The nature and ontogenesis of meaning. Hillsdale,
NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Brown, T. (1994). Man is not a machine, but neither are machines organisms. Psychological
Inquiry, 5, 241-44.
Brown, T. (1995). Problems of the social psychology of childhood. In
L. Smith (ed), Jean Piaget's Sociological studies [Translation
of Jean Piaget's Etudes Sociologiques]. London: Routledge.
Brown, T. & Gribetz, M. (1995). Logical operations
and social life. In L. Smith (ed), Jean Piaget's Sociological studies [Translation
of Jean Piaget's Etudes Sociologiques]. London: Routledge.
Brown, T. (1996).Values, knowledge, and Piaget. In E. Reed, E. Turiel,
T. Brown (eds). Values and knowledge. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Brown, T. (1997). ¿Es la teleonomía una categoría
del entendimiento? In R. Garcia (ed). La epistemologia genétíca
y la cienccia contemoránea. Barcelona: Gedisa.
Brown, T. (1998). Temptations of reductionism. El
Centro de Investgacion y de Estudios Avanzados, Mexico
Brown, T. & Kozak, A. (1998). Emotion and the possibility of psychologists
entering into heaven. In M. Mascolo & S. Griffin (eds). What
develops in emotional development? New York: Plenum Press.
Brown, T. (2001). Bärbel Inhelder and the fall of Valhalla. In
A. Tryphon & J. Vonèche (eds). Working with Piaget: essays
in honour of Bärbel Inhelder. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.
Brown, T. (2003). Reductionism and the circle of
the sciences. In T. Brown & L. Smith (2003). Reductionism and the development of
knowledge. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.