Volume 16 · Number 1 · Pages 001–012
Constructivism, Fast Thinking, Heuristics and Sustainable Development

Hugh Gash

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Context: Radical constructivism prioritises the processes by which people make sense of their experience and people construct different worlds based on their individual experiences. Problem: It follows naturally from this that people may disagree about how they understand sustainability issues. Method: I consider a number of issues related to sustainability and examines processes by which they may have been constructed. Results: Examination of the processes of construction shows that shortcuts in thinking known as heuristics play a role in thinking about sustainability. Focusing on these shortcuts and the role they play in thinking offers a way to deconstruct thoughts produced in discussions. Implications: Understanding why people hold different views on sustainability makes it possible to open discussions on the viability of these views. The hope is that discussions about these issues in a context of mutual respect will facilitate an emerging consensus. Constructivist content: Radical constructivism has prioritised rational scientific processes in the emergence of an individual’s constructions of their reality. However, two aspects of this process constrain changes in cognitive constructions. First, individuals regularly construct thoughts that are based on heuristics rather than assessed on the basis of evidence. Second, ways an individual perceives peers’ constructions of their “realities” play a role in her identity and canalise how constructions change.

Key words: Constructivism, belief, identity, heuristics, testimony, sustainability

Handling Editor: Alexander Riegler


Gash H. (2020) Constructivism, fast thinking, heuristics and sustainable development. Constructivist Foundations 16(1): 001–012. https://constructivist.info/16/1/001

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