Volume 6 · Number 2 · Pages 220–226

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The Two Epistemologies of Ernst von Glasersfeld

Karl H. Müller

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Purpose: The article pursues three aims. First, it intends to differentiate between two different approaches for knowledge studies, namely an empirical and a normative mode. In a second move, two different epistemologies in the work of Ernst von Glasersfeld will be introduced under the labels of “Epistemology I” and “Epistemology II.” Epistemology I relates to empirical research, Epistemology II is normative in nature. Third, the article makes the point that while Ernst von Glasersfeld’s Epistemology II has already been presented in a finite and mature form, his empirical analysis of cognitive processes still provides a rich pool of tools and designs that should be further developed and advanced in the years and decades ahead. Method: The article is analytical in nature, identifying the different building blocks and relational networks of von Glasersfeld’s two epistemologies. By this, the article intends to contribute to a further advancement of von Glasersfeld’s Epistemology I. Results: The main finding lies in recognizing the radical and innovative elements of von Glasersfeld’s Epistemology I and on the still-challenging research designs of Epistemology I.

Key words: epistemology, theory of knowledge, history of philosophy, philosophy of science, radical constructivism, self-referentiality, viability


Müller K. H. (2011) The Two Epistemologies of Ernst von Glasersfeld. Constructivist Foundations 6(2): 220–226. Available at http://constructivist.info/6/2/220.mueller

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