Open peer commentary on the target article “Arguments Opposing the Radicalism of Radical Constructivism” by Gernot Saalmann. First paragraph: Although supportive of many of the positions taken by constructivists, pragmatists, and instrumentalists against “metaphysical realism,” the author Gernot Saalmann mounts arguments against all epistemological radicalisms, in favor of a critical realism. Ultimately he seeks “development of an antimetaphysical, non-objectivist epistemology” rooted in pragmatism.
Problem: There is currently a great deal of mysticism, uncritical hype, and blind adulation of imaginary mathematical and physical entities in popular culture. We seek to explore what a radical constructivist perspective on mathematical entities might entail, and to draw out the implications of this perspective for how we think about the nature of mathematical entities. Method: Conceptual analysis. Results: If we want to avoid the introduction of entities that are ill-defined and inaccessible to verification, then formal systems need to avoid introduction of potential and actual infinities. If decidability and consistency are desired, keep formal systems finite. Infinity is a useful heuristic concept, but has no place in proof theory. Implications: We attempt to debunk many of the mysticisms and uncritical adulations of Gödelian arguments and to ground mathematical foundations in intersubjectively verifiable operations of limited observers. We hope that these insights will be useful to anyone trying to make sense of claims about the nature of formal systems. If we return to the notion of formal systems as concrete, finite systems, then we can be clear about the nature of computations that can be physically realized. In practical terms, the answer is not to proscribe notions of the infinite, but to recognize that these concepts have a different status with respect to their verifiability. We need to demarcate clearly the realm of free creation and imagination, where platonic entities are useful heuristic devices, and the realm of verification, testing, and proof, where infinities introduce ill-defined entities that create ambiguities and undecidable, ill-posed sets of propositions. Constructivist content: The paper attempts to extend the scope of radical constructivist perspective to mathematical systems, and to discuss the relationships between radical constructivism and other allied, yet distinct perspectives in the debate over the foundations of mathematics, such as psychological constructivism and mathematical constructivism.
Embodied Cognition represents the most important news in cognitive psychology in the last twenty years. The basis of its research program is the idea that cognitive processes depend, mirror, and are influenced by bodily control systems. A whole class of novel perspectives entered into the psychologists’ agenda only after the emergence and success of EC. In the paper we will deal with some of the main topics debated within EC, from the discussion on the role of representation, to the relationship with enactivism, with functionalism and with the extended mind view. Against an interpretation according to which EC is simply an evolution of the classical cognitivist program, we will focus on the aspects that highlight crucial discontinuities with it, suggesting instead that the EC perspective is indebted to previous theoretical traditions such as American pragmatism, ecological psychology and phenomenology. In the present paper we will discuss some of the most important achievements of EC in different areas of experimental research, from the study of affordances to that of the bodily experience, from the investigation on emotions to that on language. Our aim is to force the Italian public, particularly recalcitrant to EC, to critically reflect on the debts to previous traditions. Relevance: The paper reviews embodied theories with a special focus on enactivist approaches.
In the reception of Josef Mitterer’s writings up to now, there are two predominant types of motifs: the radical constructivist background of his philosophy and the ontological and epistemological foundations and consequences of non-dualism. The critics are focused rather on some problematic consequences of non-dualism, ranging from the problem of infinite regress up to the thesis assuming that Mitterer’s philosophy presupposes a world reduced to descriptions. However, these two types of readings are founded on dualizing assumptions which are not coherent with non-dualism. \\Thus, in the present paper I interpret non-dualism in the frame of non-dual-ism, based on non-dualizing assumptions. I argue that non-dualism is a rhetorical project resulting in far-reaching consequences in the field of academic and scientific debates, poetics and practice of negotiations and deliberations, as well as in ordinary discourse. Non-dualism fulfills Richard Rorty’s dream of culture as a never-ending conversation in which the argument of power is successfully replaced by the power of argument. Mitterer makes transparent the rhetorical techniques performed in the dualizing discourse (not only in situations of conflict) in order to present an alternative – the non-dualizing mode of discourse. Mitterer’s philosophy – reread in the context of Rorty’s pragmatism, Foucault’s conception of discourses, Perelman’s new rhetoric – offers the new vocabulary (in Rorty’s meaning) which may change the practice of speaking
Context: Non-dualist philosophy is no longer novel. Arguing against the distinctions between thought and action, theory and practice, language and objects has been a staple of the debate for decades, and Josef Mitterer offers another approach to the problem. Problem: Non-dualist philosophy is beset by a problem: it is trying to argue against a separation of “ideas” from the life-world while staying exclusively on the side of ideas. It offers a philosophy seminar argument against the bread and butter of philosophy seminars. Results: The paper argues that non-dualism in practice should be represented not by philosophers but by everyday life sociologists; not by those who argue against theory and idealisms but by those who simply ignore them. Non-dualism, however, is a useful tool when theorists have to be confronted practically; this, I argue, is its value, and in this debate, non-dualism is welcome. It is, however, a value that should not be overstated.
This paper focuses on one of the major contributions Heinz von Foerster has made to epistemology and the philosophy of science. It traces earlier disagreements with the traditional theory of knowledge and sketches the history to which von Foerster’s interpretation of the principle of indifferentiated coding supplied a decisive final chapter.
Drawing on perspectives from a range of different fields (ethics, mathematics education, philosophy, social psychology, science education, social studies), the essays in this book invite us to reposition ourselves in relation to the major currents that have influenced education in this century, namely pragmatism, genetic epistemology, and social interactionism. They call for new reflection on the validity of knowledge and types of knowledge, the compartmentalization of school subjects, the mediating role of teachers, and, above all, the ends of education.
When drawing a distinction between classical philosophy of identity and contemporary philosophy of difference, we tend to overlook crucial differences between the various philosophies of difference. In this article, an argument in favour of focusing on the different uses that are made of difference is presented. Thus, it investigates four central theoreticians of difference, Derrida, Deleuze, Luhmann, and Rorty in order to show how they differ from each other in spite of the fact that they all opt for a post-ontological philosophy of difference. The investigation is undertaken with the help of two central distinctions. Firstly, the radical attack on discursive order as such (typical for Derrida and Deleuze) is opposed to the evolutionary attempt to give up classical conceptuality in order to settle on new territories (to be found in Luhmann and Rorty). Secondly, a distinction is drawn between the use of difference as the heart of a theoretical enterprise (as can be seen in Derrida and Luhmann) and the use of difference for pragmatic purposes only (shared by Deleuze and Rorty). In conclusion, it is suggested that the four philosophies of difference are used as different means for different purposes.
Purpose: This paper aims to introduce the reader to investigation of some aspects of investment decision making from a constructivist perspective. Approach: The constructivist perspective is introduced in its dual nature of epistemology and of modelization. From constructivist epistemology, the paper mentions the corollaries of theoretical pluralism and cognitive pragmatism. From Kruglanski and Ajzen’s lay epistemology theory, the paper presents in more detail a constructivist modelization for the study and improvement of formal processes of investment decision making. Findings: Beginning from the proposed framework, the paper indicates the lines for the development of a critical (or reflective) investment decision-making attitude. This is an investment decision making which is able to reflect on its own constructs and cognitive processes in order to develop investment processes with a higher “constructivist awareness” and efficacy. Value: The proposed modelization can contribute to the work of those dedicated to the development of better formal processes of investment. The paper presents three examples of possible applications potentially useful for the improvement of the processes of asset valuation of value investors. Relevance: This paper aims to introduce the reader to investigation of some aspects of investment decision making from a constructivist perspective.
Scholars locate Kelly’s Personal Construct Psychology within the context of American pragmatism. Kelly noted his closeness to pragmatist John Dewey, but only cited William James briefly and in general terms. James’ explication of pragmatism demonstrates several areas of compatibility with PCP; examining James’ ideas might deepen understanding of PCP. This article describes relevant elements of James’ pragmatism, including the process of nature, the practical effects of ideas, truth as action and practice, passion and emotion, conventional common sense constructions, generalization of constructs, the role of human possibility, and the importance of goals and intentionality.