Volume 6 · Number 2 · Pages 239–247
Ernst von Glasersfeld’s Contribution and Legacy to a Didactique des Mathématiques Research Community

Nadine Bednarz & Jérôme Proulx

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Context: During the 1980s, Ernst von Glasersfeld’s reflections nourished various studies conducted by a community of mathematics education researchers at CIRADE, Quebec, Canada. Problem: What are his influence on and contributions to the center’s rich climate of development? We discuss the fecundity of von Glasersfeld’s ideas for the CIRADE researchers’ community, specifically in didactique des mathématiques. Furthermore, we take a prospective view and address some challenges that new, post-CIRADE mathematics education researchers are confronted with that are related to interpretations of and reactions to constructivism by the surrounding community. Results: Von Glasersfeld’s contribution still continues today, with a new generation of researchers in mathematics education that have inherited views and ideas related to constructivism. For the post-CIRADE research community, the concepts and epistemology that von Glasersfeld put forward still need to be developed further, in particular concepts such as subjectivity, viability, the circular interpretative effect, representations, the nature of knowing, errors, and reality. Implications: Radical constructivism’s offspring resides within the concepts and epistemology put forth, and that continue to be put forth, through a large number of new and different generations of theories, thereby perpetuating von Glasersfeld’s legacy.

Key words: radical constructivism, mathematics education, viability, reification, representation


Bednarz N. & Proulx J. (2011) Ernst von Glasersfeld’s contribution and legacy to a didactique des mathématiques research community. Constructivist Foundations 6(2): 239–247. http://constructivist.info/6/2/239

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