Edmund M. Mutelesi (1998) Subjectivité comme auto-organisation. Une étude du constructivisme radical au départ de Husserl. Dissertation doctorale à l'Institut Supérieur de Philosophie, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgique.

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English Summary of the Dissertation
Subjectivity as Self-Organization: A Study of Radical Constructivism Starting from Husserl

by Edmund M. Mutelesi
at the Catholic University Louvain in Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium

Starting with E. Husserl's view of subjectivity and his attempts to transcendentally account for inter-subjectivity, the author maintains that Husserl's notion of subjectivity is mainly the intentional relationship between subject and object. The author argues that it is exactly here where the problem of knowledge -- or from a constructivist perspective: cognition -- lies.

Based on interpretations of Husserl by A. Aguirre and E. Fink, the author claims that the way Husserl views the process of object-constitution brings forth an idealism which resembles the view of the observer in radical constructivism.

The author investigates the constructivist movement on the basis of the theory of autopoiesis by H. Maturana and F. Varela and texts by J. Piaget, E. von Glasersfeld, E. Morin, P. Watzlawick, H. von Foerster, and others. Constructivism focuses on circularity of bio-physical and cognitive processes. As such it forms an epistemology according to which knowledge no longer iconically reflects "reality". Rather, knowledge is a construction of entities which are constituted through the ontogenetic and phylogenetic experiences of the observer as well as through pragmatic goals of the observer.

A repetitive topic in radical constructivism is the relationship between cognition and the organic. According to D. Zahavi, similar deliberations can be found in Husserl's work and are subject in the present thesis. Furthermore, the author discusses to what extent subjectivity can be explained as self-organizing process based on the relational dynamics between subject and world.

The thesis offers some critical comments with regard to shallow criticism against radical constructivism, such as given by R. Kurt. A final critique concerns the too rigid perspective which serves as a basis for the arguments of radical constructivism.