Volume 13 · Number 2 · Pages 191–198
Towards a Dialogue Among Constructivist Research Programs

Gastón Becerra & José Antonio Castorina

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Abstract

Context: Constructivist epistemology is not a doctrinal set of clear and consistent theses and assumptions but a movement full of tensions, with minimally integrated lines of discussions. Problem: This situation explains why it is so difficult to come up with a general definition of constructivist epistemology that could serve as a starting point to study its several research programs systematically and comparatively. Method: We compare the constructivist epistemologies of Jean Piaget, Ernst von Glasersfeld, Humberto Maturana, and Niklas Luhmann regarding tensions between knowledge/reality and individual/society. Results: Our comparison leads to a general definition of constructivist epistemology as a heterogeneous movement problematizing certain dualities - such as subject/object, knowledge/reality, or individual/society - that have been shown to be central for epistemological inquiry. We argue that such dualisms can be used as dimensions for critical analysis, comparison, and discussion among the different research programs, and that, at the same time, they would allow us to analyze the general strategies characterizing such programs. The comparative and critical analysis of the programs by way of the aforementioned tensions results in an organized presentation highlighting their convergences, divergences, and singularities.

Citation

Becerra G. & Castorina J. A. (2018) Towards a dialogue among constructivist research programs. Constructivist Foundations 13(2): 191–198. http://constructivist.info/13/2/191

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References

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Comment by Robert Modlitba · 11 Apr 2018
The target article addresses the problem – “Constructive epistemology is not a doctrinal set of clear and consistent theses and assumptions but a movement full of tensions, with minimally integrated lines of discussions.” The biggest differences between theses and assumptions are not seen between the constructivist epistemologies of Jean Piaget, Ernst von Glasersfeld, Humberto Maturana, and Niklas Luhmann regarding tensions between knowledge/reality and individual/society but between philosophical theories and scientific theories used in AI. The question every RC should ask himself is –
Do I believe that human cognition can be implemented in an AI?
If your answer is no, then you are part of the problem. If your answer is yes, then you must rethink constructivist epistemology. The common ground for both sides is the believe in cognition as a cybernetic system. We can construct artificial cybernetic systems and therefore, we know the functions of such a system. This should be the starting point for a common RC epistemology.