Towards a radical constructivist understanding of science (2001)
Alexander Riegler
Foundations of Science, special issue on "The Impact of Radical Constructivism on Science" 6(1-3): 1-30
Constructivism is the idea that we construct our own world rather than it being determined by an outside reality. Its most consistent form, Radical Constructivism (RC), claims that we cannot transcend our experiences. Thus it doesn’t make sense to say that our constructions gradually approach the structure of an external reality. The mind is necessarily an epistemological solipsist, in contrast to being an ontological solipsist who maintains that this is all there is, namely a single mind within which the only world exists. RC recognizes the impossibility of the claim that the world does not exist. Yet, RC has the potential to go much further. I claim that RC provides the foundation of a new world-view in which we can overcome hard scientific problems. Thus, the paper is urging us to carry RC further, not just on philosophical grounds, but also into the domain of science. KEY WORDS: epistemology, instrumentalism, scientific realism, solipsism, truth
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