Introduction to the Genealogical Charts
Tracing the Path to a Modern American Paradigm: A Genealogy
Provided here is a series of genealogical charts that trace the developmental path of the myth of aptitude since its inception at the time of Pythagoras around 600 B.C.E. The 15 charts are associated with Chapters 2 through 16 of The Aptitude Myth.
What you’ll see is a single, very long chart that, for purely practical reasons, cannot be shown. So it has been divided into 15 sections.
This expanding chart enables you to gain awareness of the emergence and elaboration over 2,500 years of the eight key beliefs and value propositions that, even today in the 21st century, supply the talking points many Americans use when discussing children, learning, parenting, and teaching. The “Eight Key Beliefs” are overviewed on a separate page, immediately below.
|Origin of Key Belief||The Eight Key Beliefs||Trace Color on the 15 Charts|
|Pythagoras||Mental contemplation alone is sufficient to provide insights about the observed world; contemplation yields revelations from within that are exact, certain, and eternal. Emphasis: Each mind’s internal functions and processes.||
|Plato||Knowledge is “given” to each human at birth due to his or her prior unity with the “Real” world; that knowledge can be drawn from within by certain learning methods. Emphasis: Each mind’s inborn “given” contents and understandings.||
|Aristotle||Mental development will occur due to a purposeful (telos) internal principle. If there is no impediment, a mind inexorably attains its mature form. Emphasis: Each person’s mind inevitably develops, requiring neither external support nor internal intentionality.||
|Empiricists: F. Bacon, Locke, and Newton||Understanding begins with facts based on observations made by the senses, and continues via inductive thought to attain a highly probable (but still tentative) conclusion. Emphasis: Each mind’s capacity to sense and understand the external world.||
|Rousseau||“The younger the human, the better the human” because infants are unspoiled by civilization. The young are precious and should be guarded from all corruptions. Emphasis: Each mind’s initial excellence and ability to flower with little external help.||
|Luther and the Social Contractists: Quesnay, Rousseau, and Locke||Total dependence on and deference to authorities is neither necessary nor productive. Individuals can and should be self-reliant, self-expressive. Authorities have uses but need rational justification. Emphasis: Each mind’s capacity for self-direction.||
|Calvin||Before time began, each person’s eternal destiny was pre-determined – “given” – by God. Children at a very young age must become God-fearing individuals by having their wills “broken.” Emphasis: Each mind’s propensity to displease God.||
|Spencer||Mental development follows inborn patterns set by racial history; child caretakers must cater to these. The young have no resilience or flexibility; their energy is needed for growth & activity, leaving little for academics. Emphasis: Each mind’s fragile, rigid, spontane-ously unfolding patterns require subservient caretaker compliance.||