Volume 7 · Number 3 · Pages 208-221
Continuous Dialogues III: Processes of Construction Ernst von Glasersfeld’s Answers to a Wide Variety of Questioners on the Oikos Web Site 1997–2010

Vincent Kenny

Log in download the full text in PDF

> Citation > Similar > References > Add Comment


Context: Up to the time of his death in 2010, Ernst von Glasersfeld had, for the previous thirteen years, directly answered a wide variety of questions posed to him on the Oikos web site. Purpose: This is the third article in a series of four that is based on a selection from all of the questions posed in the thirteen-year period and is aimed at highlighting key aspects of radical constructivism. Method: The question-answer pairs are grouped into eight categories, and each article deals with two of these categories. This third article deals with the issue of “constructing,” split into the two main themes of (i) the personal construing system and (ii) the threat that the radical constructivist view of the personal constructing system holds for realism. Results: In the first part of this article, von Glasersfeld emphasises his view of the individual’s construction of personal meaning as a phenomenon of “private language.” The second part outlines some of the implications of radical constructivism for “realism.” Implications: Von Glasersfeld’s answers offer an easily accessible resource for people of all levels of understanding who are seeking to deepen their appreciation of his work.

Key words: Metacognition, reflective abstraction, conceptual development, Piaget, intelligence, rational vs mystical knowledge.


Kenny V. (2012) Continuous dialogues iii: Processes of construction Ernst von Glasersfeld’s answers to a wide variety of questioners on the oikos web site 1997–2010. Constructivist Foundations 7(3): 208-221. http://constructivist.info/7/3/208

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

Similar articles

Kenny V. (2014) Continuous Dialogues IV: Viability and Learning. Ernst von Glasersfeld’s Answers to a Wide Variety of Questioners on the Oikos Web Site 1997-2010
Murphy F. & Gash H. (2020) I Can’t Yet and Growth Mindset
Füllsack M. (2013) Constructivism and Computation: Can Computer-Based Modeling Add to the Case for Constructivism?
Glasersfeld E. von (2005) Thirty Years Constructivism
Riegler A., Stewart J. & Ziemke T. (2013) Computation, Cognition and Constructivism: Introduction to the Special Issue


Davis P. J. & Hersh R. (1980) The mathematical experience. Penguin, Harmondsworth. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Glasersfeld E. von & Ackermann E. (2011) Reflections on the concept of experience and the role of consciousness. Unfinished fragments. Constructivist Foundations 6(2): 193–203. http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/6/2/193.glasersfeld
Glasersfeld E. von & Varela F. (1987) Problems of knowledge and cognizing organisms. Methodologia 1: 29–46. Originally published in 1985 in Aprendizagem/Desenvolvimento 2(6): 17–23. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Glasersfeld E. von (1982) An interpretation of Piaget’s constructivism. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 36(4): 612–635. http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/077
Glasersfeld E. von (1984) An introduction to radical constructivism. In: Watzlawick P. (ed.) The invented reality. Norton, New York: 17–40. http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/070.1
Glasersfeld E. von (1987) The construction of knowledge: Contributions to conceptual semantics. Intersystems Publications: Salinas CA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Glasersfeld E. von (1988) The reluctance to change a way of thinking. The Irish Journal of Psychology 9(1): 83–90. http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/111
Glasersfeld E. von (1991) Abstraction, re-presentation, and reflection. In: Steffe L. P. (ed.) Epistemological foundations of mathematical experience. Springer, New York: 45–67. http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/130
Glasersfeld E. von (1993) Notes on the concept of change. Cahiers de la Fondation Archives Jean Piaget 13: 91–96. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Glasersfeld E. von (1995) Radical constructivism: A way of knowing and learning. Falmer Press, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Glasersfeld E. von (1997) Homage to Jean Piaget (1896–1980) Irish Journal of Psychology 18(3): 293–306. http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/204
Glasersfeld E. von (1999) A model for the construction of elementary concepts. In: Dubois D. M. (ed.) Computing anticipatory systems. American Institute of Physics, Woodbury NY: 45–52. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Kelly G. A. (1970) A brief introduction to personal construct theory. In: Bannister D. (ed.) Perspectives in personal construct theory. Academic Press, London: 1–29. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Kelly G. A. (1991) The psychology of personal constructs: A theory of personality. 2 Volumes. Routledge, London. Originally published in 1955. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Kenny V. (2011) Continuous Dialogues II: Human Experience. Ernst von Glasersfeld’s answers to a wide variety of questioners on the Oikos web site 1997–2010. Constructivist Foundations 7(1): 68–77. http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/7/1/068.kenny
Kenny V. (2011) Continuous Dialogues: Ernst von Glasersfeld’s answers to a wide variety of questioners on the Oikos web site 1997–2010. Constructivist Foundations 6(2): 204–212. http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/6/2/204.kenny
Moessinger P. & Poulin-Dubois D. (1981) Piaget on abstraction. Human Development 24: 347–353. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Peirce C. S. (1994) CP: The Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce. Electronic edition reproducing Past Masters. Hartshorne C. & Weiss P. (eds.) (1931–1935) Vols. I-VI. Harvard University Press, Cambridge; Burks A. (ed.) (1958) Vols. VII–VIII. Harvard University Press, Cambridge. Intelex Corporation, Charlottesville. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Piaget J. & collaborators (1977) Recherches sur l’abstraction réfléchissante. Volume I. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Piaget J. (1970) Le structuralisme. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Piaget J. (1975) L’équilibration des structures cognitives. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Schrödinger E. (1967) What is life? & Mind over matter. Cambridge University Press, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Varela F. J. (1979) Principles of biological autonomy. Reidel, Dordrecht. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

Comments: 0

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