Volume 6 · Number 1 · Pages 12–18

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Objections to Radical Constructivism

Andreas Quale

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Context: A number of objections that are frequently raised in the literature against radical constructivism, including: the charge of solipsism, allegations of self-refutation, social and moral reservations, and the accusation that RC cannot explain the success of science. Problem: These four objections are sought to be refuted. Results: 1. Solipsism is only troublesome against the background of a realist ontological perspective. 2. The truth-value of any proposition is only defined relative to some ontological context, thus self-refutation, as constituting a logical problem, does not arise. 3. Any ethical argumentation derives from one’s own personal views on ethical matters: their construction being a personal responsibility such that no one else can tell a person how to construct the “right ethics.” 4. In the relativist ontology of radical constructivism, a scientific theory is regarded as a model imposed on natural phenomena; its success is due to the capabilities of its constructor/scientists. Implications: It is found that the objections are based on an (overt or tacit) adoption of the antithetical viewpoint of scientific realism. In other words, radical constructivism is being criticised for not promoting a realist ontology.

Key words: ethics, ontology, realism, relativism, science, self-refutation, solipsism


Quale A. (2010) Objections to radical constructivism. Constructivist Foundations 6(1): 12–18. http://constructivist.info/6/1/012

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