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Glasersfeld E. von (1974) Jean Piaget and the radical constructivist epistemology
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Exploring social constructivism: Theories and practicalities.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3958
In the drive to improve standards, the collection and dissemination of numerical data still directs much contemporary educational policy. However, recent publications and debates seemingly attempt to reorient discussion from performance to learning. In support, constructivism is often referenced as a contributor in this endeavour. However, constructivism is not a single unified theory either of knowledge or pedagogy. This article identifies one version of constructivist thinking, social constructivism, both in terms of its underlying epistemology (theory of knowledge) and related pedagogy. Contemporary educational theories are then outlined to demonstrate that many practical solutions and theoretical ideas now presented as ‘good learning and teaching’ have much in common with social constructivist thinking. Finally, the article concludes by identifying two issues that require further discussion and debate if pedagogy of a social constructivist nature is to be considered.
Niklas Luhmann in the Society of the Computer.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3327
Niklas Luhmann is not exactly known for his thinking about a possible change of the society due to the introduction of the computer. His society is the modern society, based on the overall importance of the communication medium of the printing press. Yet, his double volume book on Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft is so rich in remarks about the possible influence of the introduction of the computer on the society, equal only to the introduction of, first, writing and, then, the printing press, that one might be tempted to consider this book his way to bid farewell to the modern culture of the society based on the printing press. Let us look at what modern society has achieved relying on a notion of order stemming, with only slight exaggeration, from the library, and then let us try to watch how this very same society has to find equally wide-ranging solutions to a society relying, for a dominant part of its communication, on an order adapted to the computing machine, or so he seems to tell us. This paper looks at Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft in terms of a theory of the emerging computer culture of a society we cannot any more call the modern one. And it proposes to call for a competition to complete one of the most speculative chapters of this book in which Luhmann attributes the central cultural notion, or theory form, of the literal society, telos, to Aristotle, of the printing press society, self-referential restlessness, to Descartes, and leaves the slot open for the one possibly defining the culture of the computer society, which is the theory form of the form.
Autopoiesis and emergence.
In: Minati G., Pessa E. & Abram M. (eds.)
Systemics of emergence: Research and development
. Springer, Berlin: 281–292.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2320
Autopoietic theory is more than a mere characterization of the living, as it can be applied to a wider class of systems and involves both organizational and epistemological aspects. In this paper we assert the necessity of considering the relation between autopoiesis and emergence, focusing on the crucial importance of the observer’s activity and demonstrating that autopoietic systems can be considered intrinsically emergent processes. From the attempts to conceptualize emergence, especially Rosen’s, autopoiesis stands out for its attention to the unitary character of systems and to emergent levels, both inseparable from the observer’s operations. These aspects are the basis of Varela’s approach to multiple level relationships, considered as descriptive complementarities.
Diversity of theories in mathematics education: How can we deal with it?
Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3937
This article discusses the central question of how to deal with the diversity and the richness of existing theories in mathematics education research. To do this, we propose ways to structure building and discussing theories and we contrast the demand for integrating theories with the idea of networking theories.
Glasersfeld E. von
The foundations of radical constructivism: An interview with Ernst von Glasersfeld.
Foundations of Chemistry
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/1558
Constructivism rejects the metaphysical position that “truth,” and thus knowledge in science, can represent an “objective” reality, independent of the knower. It modifies the role of knowledge from “true” representation to functional viability. In this interview, Ernst von Glasersfeld, the leading proponent of Radical Constructivism underlines the inaccessibility of reality, and proposes his view that the function of cognition is adaptive, in the biological sense: the adaptation is the result of the elimination of all that is not adapted. There is no rational way of knowing anything outside the domain of our experience and we construct our world of experiences. In addition to these philosophical claims, the interviewee provides some personal insights; he also gives some suggestions about better teaching and problem solving. These are the aspects of constructivism that have had a major impact on instruction and have modified the manner many of us teach. The process of teaching as linguistic communication, he says, needs to change in a way to involve actively the students in the construction of their knowledge. Because knowledge is not a transferable commodity, learning is mainly identified with the activity of the construction of personal meaning. This interview also provides glimpses on von Glasersfeld’s life.
Nuzzo M. L.
Exploring the sphere of between: The adoption of a framework of complementarity and its implications for a constructivist psychotherapy.
Theory and Psychology
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/917
A psychological understanding of interpersonal processes in terms of complementarity is not new. It is enough to mention Buber (the title of our paper refers to an expression of his), as well as Bateson and his definitions of double description, binocular vision and complementary and symmetric relations. We would like to clarify the nature of complementarity, and to point out the presence of this framework in some philosophical and scientific discourses about the person. Moreover, we think that the adoption of a framework of complementarity becomes a metaphysical necessity within what we have called “hermeneutic constructivism,” and that other constructivisms fail to acknowledge it, thereby losing much of their metatheoretical, revolutionary potential. We will document the possibility of adopting a framework of complementarity with respect to different pairs of poles, which specify as many phenomenal domains: (1) the relation between any entity and its environment; (2) the relation between modes of description; (3) the relation between the person and the world; and (4) the relation between people. In the final part of the paper we outline some implications of a consideration of complementarity for the psychotherapy process.
The framework of complementarity is an essential feature of hermeneutic constructivism.
Of animals and men: A study of umwelt in Uexküll, Cassirer, and Heidegger.
Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/4134
The term Umwelt (literally “around-world” or “surrounding-world”), which emerged as an important philosophical and biological term in the early twentieth century, has been defined in various ways. This paper first looks at the German biologist Jakob von Uexküll’s revolutionary notion of the animal’s Umwelt. It then explores the responses to, and critiques of, Uexküll’s notion of Umwelt: that of Ernst Cassirer, the German philosopher of Symbolische Formen (“symbolic forms”), and that of Martin Heidegger, the originator of Dasein (“being-there,” human being). It will be suggested here that, viewed on the synchronic axis of philosophical methods, their perspectives, though different, are fundamentally reinterpretations of the Kantian philosophy of logical form, the Kantian open-and-closed epistemological model. But it will also be suggested that Heidegger, with his hermeneutic circle of “understanding” and “interpretation,” comes closer than Cassirer to a view of the animal’s “around-world” that is congruent with Uexküll’s view of Umwelt.
animals and men
From constructivism to modeling.
In: Stewart S., Olearski J. & and Thompson D. (eds.)
Proceedings of the Second Annual Conference for Middle East Teachers of Science, Mathematics and Computing
. PUB, PLA: 3–28.
A thirty-year reflection on constructivism in mathematics education in PME.
In: Gutierrez A. & Boero P. (eds.)
Handbook of research on the psychology of mathematics education: Past, present and future
. Sense Publications, Rotterdam: 305–345.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2973
Introduction:As the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (IG PME) grew up, so did constructivism. Reflecting over the role of constructivism in the history of mathematics education is a daunting task, but one which provides an opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished, honor the contributions of scholars around the world, and identify what remains unfinished or unexplained. In undertaking this task, we divide our treatment into five major sections: (1) The historical precedents of constructivism during the first ten years (1976–85); (2) The debates surrounding the ascendancy of constructivism during the next ten years (1986–95); (3) Our own articulation of key principles of constructivism; (4) Thematic developments over the last ten years (1996-present); and (5) An assessment of and projection towards future work. Looking back, we hope we can share the excitement of this epoch period in mathematics education and the contributions to it which came from across the globe. Since its inception at the 1976 International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME) in Karlsruhe, PME has addressed three major goals all addressing the need to integrate mathematics education and psychology. While PME clearly has welcomed and thrived on multiple theories of psychology, beginning with Skemp’s (1978) The Psychology of Learning Mathematics, it has preferred those with a cognitive, and to some extent, an affective orientation. Two major theories of intellectual development have been dominant, namely constructivism and socio-cultural perspectives. In recent years, these two theories have intermingled, but in this volume, they are separated as we trace their paths, overlapping and distinctive. We will not give in to the frequent temptation to cast constructivism and socio-cultural perspectives as a diametrically opposed where one is personal/individual and the other social; but rather track the evolution of the theory via the theorists and the perspectives that they assign to their work.
Reflections on Power, Democracy and Communications.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Ashby’s Law of Requisite variety, Beer’s Viable System Model, Maturana’s Biology of Cognition, Habermas’s theory of communicative action and Luhmann’s theory of social systems have assisted my reflections upon issues such as power, democracy, participation and fairness in society. I have explored these issues from a cybernetics perspective in several publications (Espejo, 2001a, 2001b, 2004) and they remain a central concern of my current work on nuclear waste management in Europe.
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