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Glasersfeld E. von (1974) Jean Piaget and the radical constructivist epistemology
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Revisiting educational research through Morin’s paradigm of complexity.
Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education 6(1): 61–70.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/332
The aim of this paper is to question the way one conceives the use of a specific theoretical approach (i.e., theories associated with the concept of complexity) in order to promote changes in educational practices and theories. The position I am adopting translates the conviction that any reform of thought has to be conceived in conjunction with a reflection about the idea of reform itself (Morin, 1999). It is therefore assumed that the use of the notion of complexity, to be critical and to bring significant changes, supposes not only to use a specific theoretical vocabulary, but also and above all to change the way scientific activity itself is conceived in order to bring about such a transformation. Following Edgar Morin’s constructivist and non-dualistic contribution, this paper discusses concepts such as program, strategy, prescription, interpretation, monoreferentiality and multireferentiality, in order to discuss researchers’ implication and the way they manage the relationships between the conditions of production of scientific discourses and the ″realities″ to which they are referring.
How to understand consciousness: The strength of the phenomenological method.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3968
Analyzing the outline of the endless literature on consciousness, the separation between science and philosophy rather than being overcome, seems to come back in different shapes. According to this point of view, the hard problem seems to be how to study consciousness while avoiding a slip back to the old dualism. This article outlines the advantages of the phenomenological method. This method, more than getting over the mind-body separation, anticipates it through an open gaze, able to bring back the human presence as something structurally “ambiguous.” Reintroducing Husserl’s scientific project in a complete way, Francisco Varela opened up a research area yet to be explored, which promises to be fertile for neuroscience, provided that we accept that radicalism essential to phenomenology.
Asaro P. M.
Information and regulation in robots, perception and consciousness: Ashby’s embodied minds.
International Journal of General Systems
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/348
This article considers W. Ross Ashby’s ideas on the nature of embodied minds, as articulated in the last five years of his career. In particular, it attempts to connect his ideas to later work by others in robotics, perception and consciousness. While it is difficult to measure his direct influence on this work, the conceptual links are deep. Moreover, Ashby provides a comprehensive view of the embodied mind, which connects these areas. It concludes that the contemporary fields of situated robotics, ecological perception, and the neural mechanisms of consciousness might all benefit from a reconsideration of Ashby’s later writings.
Perceptual interactions in a minimalist virtual environment.
New Ideas in Psychology
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/478
Minimalism is a useful element in the constructivist arsenal against objectivism. By reducing actions and sensory feedback to a bare minimum, it becomes possible to obtain a complete description of the sensory-motor dynamics; and this in turn reveals that the object of perception does not pre-exist in itself, but is actually constituted during the process of observation. In this paper, this minimalist approach is deployed for the case of the recognition of “the Other.” It is shown that the perception of another intentional subject is based on properties that are intrinsic to the joint perceptual activity itself.
Konstruktivismus in der deutschen und französischen Kommunikationswissenschaft.
In: Schulz P. J., Hartung U. & Keller S. (eds.) Identität und Vielfalt der Kommunikationswissenschaft. UVK, Konstanz: 65-87.
The author compares the development of constructivist approaches in two national communities of communication researches, France and Germany. Radical approches are nearly unvisible in the French community, here social constructivism relies mainly on action and speach theory.
Di Paolo E. A.
Defining agency: Individuality, normativity, asymmetry and spatio-temporality in action.
Adaptive Behavior 17: 367–386.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/324
The concept of agency is of crucial importance in cognitive science and artificial intelligence, and it is often used as an intuitive and rather uncontroversial term, in contrast to more abstract and theoretically heavy-weighted terms like “intentionality”, “rationality” or “mind”. However, most of the available definitions of agency are either too loose or unspecific to allow for a progressive scientific program. They implicitly and unproblematically assume the features that characterize agents, thus obscuring the full potential and challenge of modeling agency. We identify three conditions that a system must meet in order to be considered as a genuine agent: a) a system must define its own individuality, b) it must be the active source of activity in its environment (interactional asymmetry) and c) it must regulate this activity in relation to certain norms (normativity). We find that even minimal forms of proto-cellular systems can already provide a paradigmatic example of genuine agency. By abstracting away some specific details of minimal models of living agency we define the kind of organization that is capable to meet the required conditions for agency (which is not restricted to living organisms). On this basis, we define agency as an autonomous organization that adaptively regulates its coupling with its environment and contributes to sustaining itself as a consequence. We find that spatiality and temporality are the two fundamental domains in which agency spans at different scales. We conclude by giving an outlook to the road that lies ahead in the pursuit to understand, model and synthesize agents.
Researchers’ descriptions and the construction of mathematical thinking.
Educational Studies in Mathematics
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3731
Research in mathematics education is a discursive process: It entails the analysis and production of texts, whether in the analysis of what learners say, the use of transcripts, or the publication of research reports. Much research in mathematics education is concerned with various aspects of mathematical thinking, including mathematical knowing, understanding and learning. In this paper, using ideas from discursive psychology, I examine the discursive construction of mathematical thinking in the research process. I focus, in particular, on the role of researchers’ descriptions. Specifically, I examine discursive features of two well-known research papers on mathematical thinking. These features include the use of contrast structures, categorisation and the construction of facts. Based on this analysis, I argue that researchers’ descriptions of learners’ or researchers’ behaviour and interaction make possible subsequent accounts of mathematical thinking.
The meaning of the basic elements of language in terms of cognitive operations: Operational Semantics.
Advanced Studies in Biology 1(5–8): 255–305.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/395
In this article, the author provides a brief introduction to a completely new theory in Semantics, Operational Semantics (OS), which concerns the meaning of the basic linguistic elements that are indispensable for any linguistic expression, i.e., the fundamental “grammatical” words and morphemes. Even if in the text there is no explicit reference to constructivism, OS could be relevant for constructivist approaches, since its fundamental presupposition is that the meanings of these linguistic elements are mainly sequences of elemental mental operations (amongst which those of attention play a key role) that are actively carried out by the subject.
Inside the companionship for minors: Troubles and weaknesses of an ethnographic approach to deviance and education.
In: Richards L (ed.) Methods in Practice. Sage, London.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/338
This article is based on an ethnographic research carried out from 2004 to 2008 in Spain. It is about the understanding of the companionship for minors with correctional and educational intervention in Juvenile Court.
The first ethnographic affiliation aspired to become “medium” in search of an humanistic epistemology which admits its physical, psychological, sociological and political dimensions and shapes a critical deconstruction of certain scientific representations of educational phenomena. The epistemological evolution was the following: Phenomenology, Constructivism and Complexity.
The fieldwork was thought as “situation-in-life”: the whole research and the progressive research subject construction were driven by this “situation-in-life” itself.
Weak ties cooperation with Web 2.0.
KappaeMme 1–09: 26–31.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/441
In this paper we introduce the concept of Knowledge Cooperation, a participative approach to Knowledge Management based on a constructivist knowledge model. We then present its implementation in the weak ties knowledge network CoRe, a distributed Community of Practice of researchers (“Community of Research”) supported by an online platform that implements a Web 2.0 approach based on MOODLE.
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