Though I met and interviewed him a few times, Piaget really functioned for me as a paragon.
In the term of Dean Keith Simonton, a paragon is someone whom one does not know personally but who serves as a virtual teacher and point of reference.
Any serious scientist or scholar will change his or her mind; put differently, we will come to agree with those with whom we used to disagree, and vice versa.
We differ in whether we are open or secretive about such "changes of mind": and in whether we choose to attack, ignore, or continue to celebrate those with whose views we are no longer in agreement.
I thought that Piaget had identified the most important question in cognitive psychology — how does the mind develop; developed brilliant methods of observation and experimentation; and put forth a convincing picture of development — a set of general cognitive operations that unfold in the course of essentially lockstep, universally occurring stages.
I wrote my first books about Piaget; saw myself as carrying on the Piagetian tradition in my own studies of artistic and symbolic development (two areas that he had not focused on); and even defended Piaget vigorously in print against those who would critique his approach and claims.
The cockroach, we suspect, sees little of the truth, but is quite fit, though easily fooled, with its niche-specific perceptual hacks.
Nowadays, with many others, I assume that human beings possess considerable innate or easily elicited cognitive capacities, and that Piaget way underestimated the power of this inborn cognitive architecture.
Piaget downplayed the importance of historical and cultural factors — cognitive development consisted of the growing child experimenting largely on his own with the physical (and, minimally, the social ) world.