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

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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

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