Publication 2613

Gash H. (2011) Maturana, ethics and constructivism. In: Lasker G. E. & Hiwaki K. (eds.) Personal and spiritual development in the world of cultural diversity. Vol VIII. IIAS, Tecumseh Ontario: 15–19. Fulltext at
How might a constructivist account of the origins of personal views help conflict resolution? In this paper I consider ideas suggested by Maturana’s epistemology and associated ethical comments. Maturana’s approach to thinking (and feeling) at the individual level begins with observation then we describe and explain what we observe. The explanations may or may not take account of the processes by which they are created. Might it be possible to examine how to implement process oriented examination as a personal ethical procedure? At the next interpersonal level Maturana introduces the concept of the legitimate other as a basis for ethical discussions. Moving to the level of society, Maturana based his vision of ethics on early human social groups where people were interdependent socially and biologically. Relevance: Understanding ethical differences seems crucial to tolerance which helps co-operation at a human level. This paper is about how constructivism has a strong hidden ethical message.


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