Publication 2801

Fischer B. (1997) Toward a constructivist epistemology: Johann Gottfried Herder and Humberto Maturana. The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms 2(2): 304–308. Fulltext at
Excerpt: The point has been made that Humberto Maturana’s “radical constructivism” is in many respects neo-Kantian. There are also definite parallels between aspects of Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre and Maturana’s biological epistemology. On the other hand, it should not be overlooked that idealist authors like Kant and Fichte were still entangled in several metaphysical paradigms, which can no longer be supported by constructivist theories. For political and ethical reasons, this seems especially important, when it comes to idealist philosophies of history. Kant, for instance, continued the tradition of a teleology of history, even though he did it by way of his famous “as-if” relativization. He felt that his critical philosophy had to act as if there were a telos and potentially describable purpose to history, although it could never be proved. Eschatology was, therefore, considered to be more than just a necessity of human reason. (On that level – as a principle of reason, log¬ics, and the construction of meaning – teleology is, of course, important for constructivism as well.) One had to act as though it were a law of nature as well, or else there would ultimately be no reason.


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