Volume 3 · Number 3 · Pages 123–126

< Previous Paper · Next Paper >

Can Dichotomies Be Tamed?

Ernst von Glasersfeld

Download the full text in
PDF (86 kB)

> Citation > Similar > References > Add Comment


Purpose: The notion of dichotomy is central to Josef Mitterer’s work and he uses the term as a portmanteau. My paper characterizes the specific dichotomies he describes, uses C. K. Ogden’s work on “Opposition” to classify them, and reviews attempts to overcome incompatible oppositions in other disciplines. Approach: Conceptual analysis in an attempt to show some of the conceptual differences in the various types of opposition. A “sampler” indicates possible divisions. Findings: From the constructivist point of view, the notion of dichotomy is a complex one and must be divided into separate types, not all of which can be discarded in rational discourse. Implications: From this author’s perspective, Mitterer’s publications present a powerful stand against the tradition of realism and lead one to hope that his next will be a primer of non-dualistic discourse.

Key words: oppositions, paradoxes, mathematical abstractions, Schrödinger’s cat, ontological agnosticism, Charles Kay Ogden


Glasersfeld E. von (2008) Can dichotomies be tamed? Constructivist Foundations 3(3): 123–126. http://constructivist.info/3/3/123

Export article citation data: Plain Text · BibTex · EndNote · Reference Manager (RIS)

Similar articles

Johnson D. K. (2010) Footprints in the Sand: Radical Constructivism and the Mystery of the Other

Glasersfeld E. von (2006) A Constructivist Approach to Experiential Foundations of Mathematical Concepts Revisited

Glasersfeld E. von (2010) Why People Dislike Radical Constructivism

Glasersfeld E. von (2005) Thirty Years Constructivism

Glasersfeld E. von (2009) Sketches from Partial Memories


Berkeley G. (1950) A treatise concerning the principles of human understanding. Reprinted in: Luce A. A. & Jessop T. E. (eds.) The works of George Berkeley, Volume II. Nelson & Sons, London. Originally published in 1710. << Google Scholar

Bohr N. (1987) The philosophical writings of Niels Bohr, Volume 1. Ox Bow Press:Woodridge. Originally published in 1934. << Google Scholar

Byers W. (2007) How mathematicians think. Princeton University Press, Princeton << Google Scholar

Ceccato S. (1951) Il linguaggio e la tabella di Ceccatieff. Hermann & Cie, Paris. << Google Scholar

Fischer L. (1931) The structure of thought. Allen & Unwin, London. << Google Scholar

Häffner H., Hänsel W., Roos C. F., Ben-helm J., Chek-Al-Kar D., Chwalla M., Körber T., Rapol U. D., Riebe M., Schmidt P. O., Becher C., Gühne O., Dür, W., Blatt R. (2005) Scalable multi-particle entanglement of trapped ions. Nature 438: 643–646. << Google Scholar

Mitterer J. (1992) Das Jenseits der Philosophie. Passagen, Vienna. << Google Scholar

Mitterer J. (2001) Die Flucht aus der Beliebigkeit. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main. << Google Scholar

Naica-Loebell A. (2005) Stabile Schrödinger-Katzen, Telepolis. Retrieved on 30 May 2008 from http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/21/21472/1.html << Google Scholar

Ogden C. K. (1967) On opposition. Indiana University Press, Bloomington. Originally published in 1932. << Google Scholar

Wittgenstein L. (1953) Philosophical investigations. Basil Blackwell, Oxford. << Google Scholar

Comments: 0

To stay informed about comments to this publication and post comments yourself, please log in first.