Talk:Constructivist epistemology

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Project plan to save Constructivism on the Wikipedia[edit]

I have found epistemology to mean "underlying theory" in education and psychology. For instance, in education, epistemology is what is necessary to create curricula and a syllabus. In psychology, epistomology can mean cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, or psychodynamic (the latter two being related to constructivism).

The Constructivist disambiguation page lists types of constructivist whose underlying theory should be described on this page as collective constructivism as it applies:

  1. Social construcTIVism and social construcTIONism probably have the same meaning in the "here and now" as they describe how shared cognition (or consensually accepted reality) is created. Social constructionism is the basis of family therapy, and it has decidedly behavioral roots, which hows constructivism's exceedingly wide scope.
  2. Teaching methods might be better called education and can be combined with learning theory, and, as the origin of the epistemology it closely relates to psychology as knowledge building is considered therapy for self-construct (humanistic) or the conscious/unconscious (psychodynamic). The education page's first line describes Piaget as the founder of constructivism, which is pretty far off mark as Vygotsky predated him, and I am not even sure Piaget would agree.
  3. Constructivist mathematics is very interesting, as as described here on the Wikipedia, is very interesting because it probably spawned object-oriented programming (as we know computer science has its roots in math). Math and physics have strong influences on psychology and sociology as in organizational psychology (Kurt Lewin)
  4. Missing from the above list are arts and architecture (which may be appropriate, but seem off topic as everything left is knowledge-based or Science--which is constructed knowledge.
  5. Constructivism is an accepted model for the current Information Society (the Internet), and especially for Wikis, yet no page exists for this--it can be initiated here.

The point I am trying to make, is that this page, and the disambuigation page are virtually the same, in fact, this should probably be the disambigutation page. At very least it needs to be a hub, and the arcane nature epistemology with its roots in ancient philosophy does not help current readers who cannot know what it means as it is rarely used. (This makes it un-encyclopedic as encyclopedias are popular sources.) The page needs a new name that better explains constructivism than epistemology can.

I personally consider myself a constructivst, but it was not until I studied family systems that I realized that constructivism is not about society as much as the person, either through learning or understanding psychology. I formed an idea that the "community of knowledge" was the constructivist goal, but that is really in the direction of social construction. In the end, one isn't going anywhere w/o the other: constructivism and constructionism are together a dimension that is yet to be named (I think).

Constructivism is, however, the epistemology of the Internet (and hence the current Information Society). Also, it is one half of the family systems picture, and it logically extends that it is important to society's picture (sociology). The other half, social construction is more about the formation of "reality" through communication -- it isn't real until we discuss it, and create a common conception, or, more accurately, a shared cognition. (Cool, huh? Didn't you always wonder about reality?)

All these writers are exceedingly current, and quite interesting to read, and I think they have all we need. I am not saying to ignore Vygotski by any means, but I believe we need to look through the current lens. This field, more than any other, is multidisciplinary. For one thing, Peschl marries the psychodynamicists with the humanistics, Freud with Rogers, by showing the classic "unconscious" as the humanistic "frame of reference." What I think is barely mentioned, is that the construction of the "frame of reference" with an epistemology is key to psychological well-being: happiness. This I got from family systems and Bonnie Shapiro's What Children Bring to Light.

There is one item that is often ignored (but not by Resnick): the "artifact." This the thing we focus on in constructivism; what we construct. In economics, it is a product, but in the current economy it is not our product; it is the corporation's. (Think of this in terms of socialism and globalism.) Instead, we have semi-artifacts such as sports and family activities. I imagine cars and houses are artifacts we focus on, but others focus on them for us; I have heard referred to as a form of mediation. If the artifact is essential to psychological construction (along with emotional interrelation which is also scarce), then we have a good picture of why "craziness" is increasing substantially year after year.

There are direct extensions to engineering, such as cybernetics that Bateson of the Mental Health Institute passed along to the Milan school. This mirrors Bandura's efficacy research with physics-like Kurt Lewin. As part of the self-constructs, efficacy is very important, yet is rarely differentiated from esteem.

I think that it is only appropriate that the constructivist page should faithfully imitate itself to create a valid social internet structure. It really is not that tough to understand. It has familiar humanistic (which is North American) Existential (Europe) flavors to it (and I cannot help but think that there are Asian equivalents), the modeling can be done on a single piece of paper (see below). --John Bessa (talk) 15:29, 21 December 2011 (UTC)


Epistemology, from the WP: "the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge." I think that philosophy is something to avoid in the context of Science, so let's say that it is the

"study of the construction of knowledge"

which is, in fact, a sort of redundancy to constructivists, as study is in of itself the construction of knowledge. Constructivsm is the epistemology that is not didactic, or perhaps didactic is the epistemology that is not constructivist. This makes constructivism is the natural, non-forced, artifact- or object-oriented development of concept that extends through social construction to others and groups such as family and society. To support the importance of the artifact, or object that is being constructed in parallel with the construction of knowledge, constructivist math literally requires an object, it is the first object orientation.

As we want scientific study rather than philosophy, then I am thinking that the proper name for this page is Constructivism (current epistemology). As I have been attempting to show, constructivsm is multidisciplinary, and epistemology covers all uses of it as the study of the development of concepts. The meanings are coinciding here and now, hence my idea for using the word current.

Input please!! --John Bessa (talk) 20:18, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Mapping and feedback loops[edit]


Shared cognition is an important constructivist component, especially as we move along the continuum to construction as Resnick describes. An important contribution just after WWI, was by Alfred Korzybski who described comprehension as a map of some land, but not the land itself. If it is a good map, he said, then it is as good as the land as an abstraction, but will not have all the information. In this analogy, distributed cognition is knowledge in the map that is shared; and I extend this by saying that much of the unknown information is actually the private, such as in private property. Some of this private information is shared in circular questioning, updating Korzybski's map. His work may have been the basis for all current diagrams.


Sociology and social and family psychology work with communication loops, which were initially introduced as something negative by Bowen for families to be treated, but are now recognized as the social network, which is a matrix of all those who know each other, and of each other. Single, double, and triple feedback loops are well described by Peschl, and I have extended them by using the perspective of the individual (which is what I think Peschl meant them for) beyond family to the societal perspective.
Peschls three loops extended to social construction.svg

Two and apparent and possibly profound problems[edit]

What is important in this diagram is that the capital-civil loop of higher society (or civilization) is removed from the normal individual and social structure loops. A good questions is "where is education?" Two important changes result that damage society because of the civil-capital loop to the side. One is that critical inquiry / analysis is halted and there is nowhere to go with information about needs for improvement in society. Alternate paths can be built, but they are maladaptive. The other problem, which became apparent because of the diagram, is that there is no necessary artifact in the middle loops, only in the capital-civic loop. The artifact is essential for human functioning, and it is not where it is supposed to be--it has been stolen. But, by whom? This, I think, is the essential question humanity faces, and it is not a sociological or political question. It is a psychological question, and it may be psychology itself, because, if you study psychology, you know that the study of the human mind (and families) is about maladaption, and, increasingly, genetic mutations (not good) -- there is no study of the normal human mind.

I put more writing in the comments section for the feedback loops diagram; it is SVG so it can be edited if you feel the urge.

Institutionalized education[edit]

Where is education in this picture? Constructivst education would be complete with the insertion of the Artifact into the center, but didactic education has to be parallel as a business, as it operates for profit (even if it has been socialized). As didactic information is supplied (with little "back talk"); this was mis-attunement to Carl Rogers as it was not the product of experience, and probably misinformation. So, another box has been placed above Knowledge for inserted knowledge that is separate from the collective experience.

On the topic of education, constructivists education has always hit a roadblock which is that the only possible use for it is in the capital-civic loop (for reasons I describe in the map comments at the link above). What this means is that constructivist education is framed in the context of didactic education, which has no use for it. Didactic education, which from this diagram is not in the constructivist loops, which implies that (cognition from the didactic perspective) is not in the loop and is different from knowledge (episodic memory) and frame of reference (working memory) and may, along with behavior, be some other kind of psychology such pathology. There is another abstraction for the human system that comes from the pragmatists-phenomenoligists-humanistics, such as Carl Rogers and John Dewey that is purely based on experience and the construction of self, and might be the basis of a map that does not refer to cognition or behavior, as they are didactic and hence counter-thetical. I refer to this in Wikiology in the Carl Rogers section.

(It may be important to note that constructivist structure long-predates wikis, and that wikis don't necessarily use constructivist structure especially the Wikipedia, which attempts to preserve sequential (and hence unstructured) narrative. It may also be that to be truly constructivist, constructivist wikis have to have some different name that "wiki," as wikis are named for an express airport shuttle for tourists to Hawaii. (Weird naming conventions are typical of the Web, especially for this website: wikimedia, mediawiki-- is it designed to confuse? It probably is. Many constructivist structures may be defined in the scope of the Internet's unique ill-logic, but this in not the fault of constructivism! Constructivism has been suppressed, and, as typical of information control, sometimes maligned to some other meaning (but not too often). John Bessa (talk) 15:00, 22 December 2011 (UTC))


I think it is important to look that this as well, as constructiVism and constructioNism are clearly marked "post-modern" as is construcTIONism. From reading Peschl, the radical constructivist, I can only conclude that post-modernism is the creation of the modernists. From researching the roots of analytic thought, it became apparent to me that modernism is about 2500 years old (rather than dating back to the Enlightenment as many state), if you believe Socrates and Plato founded modern civilization with the first academy and the republic documents. (It may be helpful to note the context of this map and the problems it describes that the Socratics shunned the Athenian forum.) It is not as if armed construcTIVists and social construcTIONists invaded the classrooms and tossed the modernists. (Note the importance of academic education to perceptions.)


Prior to learning this, I took post-modern to mean the tribal culture that has been absorbed in art (such as Picasso), and something relating to the post-apocalyptic thought by the SCA (what I would call re-enacted ancient Roman "campaignism"). I considered aboriginal preservation and restoration to be post-modern as genuine aboriginal culture has been so maligned by colonialism (or perhaps just civilization) that the native relationship with the environment is perceived to be entirely about killing animals. What has been lost is the aboriginal relationship with the environment that is exceedlingly relevant in this context because this relationship actually a fundamental component of constructiVism and construcTIONism: the community of knowledge. While this may appear to be post-modernism, it is really a pre-classical-ism that has survived civilization to this day by existing as parallel cultures, for instance, as folk music, community farming, and urban rebellion. The capital-civilized are increasing absorbing traditional human properties (really the public domain) while evicting historical farmers as part of globalism, which is considered by many to be post-modern because it is feminist, for instance.

Struggle between East (Vienna as the doorway) and West (New World plus the Western Isles)[edit]

I feel that there is an underlying struggle between classical thought, which is centered in Vienna and focuses on the unconscious, and classical modernism) and new thought, which is native to North America in too many ways to count, but has traces back to David Hume's 1700s Scotland with its concept of "God within us" that became scientific with the "self <-> experience" process that is the hallmark of humanistic thinking. As I think about it, it may be premature to exclude one model or the other, as abstractions are just that, comprehensions based on what we know, which is constucTIVism.--John Bessa (talk) 16:06, 22 December 2011 (UTC)


Isn't Constructivist_epistemology a bit of a misnomer? It's also an ontological theory? I don't understand the distinction between this and Social constructionism, should they be merged?

I think the difference is in it's radicality. Whereas social constructionism still accepts the influence of society and culture, radical constructivist epistemology, in the sense of Varela and Maturana, does not - it's much closer to a solipcistic point of view. Oh, and they come to different conclusions: Varela and Maturana emphasize the resposibility of the constructing subject. This isn't that important in social constructionism. (I hope I got the vocabularly right, I learned it all in German...) --denny vrandečić 09:39, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)
They're the same thing, except this puts new clothes on an old whore. This go-round, social constructionism wears a delightful new dress that's a hodepodge of Western Marxism, Piss-poor readings of Ricouer (suddenly everything's a narrative) and Habermas (that they don't seem to get conflicts violently with what they take from Foucault), even worse readings of Piaget (whose essentially Kantian outlook again conflicts with everyone else they draw from, none of whom have even vaguely Kantian positions), the thoroughly debunked Sapir-Worf (Berlin & Kaye, much?) , and a monumentally slipshod reading of Foucault (what's not a narrative is a "discourse" - essentially turning every analysis into a tarot card reading, also a level of naive subjectivism which isn't in F).
The main difference is when you change the name of something that's thoroughly debunked, it's easier to get another useless Doctorate out of it in the Social Sciences or bring back groupwork in Education (perenially debunked). Also, quite inexplicably, this seemes to bring more thoroughly debunked Marxists back to the social sciences table, like Freire, a laughingstock in mainstream philosophy.
Read Kincheloe for more on this, or better yet don't. He's hysterically awful and quite thankfully, dead. Oh, and the Social Constructivists have a Don King-like tendency to make up words a lot. You know, like "radicality".
It seems to me that Empiricists long ago claimed the realm of Epistemology and Constructivists are attempting to reclaim some part

of it. The article should be changed to "Constructivism" since constrcutivism and empiricism are just different epistemological methodologies.

Also last paragraph ain't NPOV.


"Social constructivism is a form of constructivism based on the sociological and social psychological concept of social constructionism"

Stack overflow.


Perhaps there's a case for consistently clarifying constructioNism and constructiVism...

Bryan 16:00, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Education vs Epistemology[edit]

This article talks about education whether than epistemology. It needs a profund modification that would deserve a stub. Chrisdel 09:30, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

I've marked the article with CleanupConfusing. Chrisdel 15:53, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Constructivism describes learning in a community context: the ZPD. It is an epistemology, like didactic is. The idea is that kids learn only so much on their own, it is in the partnership with their parents that they get their real start. Then, they learn from the community. As they progress from novice to expert, they become more confident in the group setting, eventually making significant contributions: constructing knowledge.
The use of a theory of knowledge is different than a discussion about that theory of knowledge. If there really is an educational model with the name "Constructivist epistemology" this article could be that, but it should be labeled "Constructivist epistemology (eduction)". Especially in the constructivism disambiguation page. Rather, this article uses very little space expanding the topic from the short description already given in the Epistemology page. I'd favor changing the above proposal to split this in to three articles.
  • One merged with "social constructionism",
  • One as "constructivism_(education)",
  • and maybe one that needs a lot of improvements called "constructivism_(philosophy)"
Littlepinkpig 06:56, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Merger seems necessary as epistemology and education pretty much mean the same thing. What is missing from the entire picture is that constructivist basis of social construction, and constructivism's similar to humanistic psychology. I think a single page for constructivism that is based on current though and the works its way backwards through time to its originators is the only way to make this make sense. What that title would be is hard to imagine; perhaps "Constructivism (current).--John Bessa (talk) 15:44, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Trivial constructivism[edit]

I moved the following here, because an article and a list are not the same thing. This should be fleshed out, and complete sentences should be used:

Also known as cognitive constructivism. Knowledge and reality is actively constructed by the individual, not passively received from the environment. This is the simplest form of constructivism.

-Seth Mahoney 22:56, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

I made some grammatical and logical corrections. I'm not an expert on this topic, but I think I've left the accuracy intact. Let me know if this is not the case. 01:45, 9 December 2005 (UTC) Ryan Sommers


I just thought Gilles Deleuze being listed as a proponent of social constructivism is misleading. Although he recognizes all categories (ie. gender, sexuality, delinquincy etc.) are historical, they are a combination of social and MATERIAL processes. It is fairly evident throughout difference and repetition and his work with guattari that he is a realist, although avoiding the problem of essentialism. Great reference on this is Manuel De Landa's Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy. Sorry if I'm being anal :D.

Alright: I just mistook your edit for a random removal. (Edit summaries help avoid that problem.) :) --Emufarmers(T/C) 09:21, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Proponents list[edit]

I've added some new proponents that cannot be avoided in the study of this subject : G Vico, Gaston Bachelard, Jean Piaget, Herbert Simon, Edgar Morin, Gregory Bateson, Jean-Louis Le Moigne (see "Le Moigne's Defense of Constructivism" by E. Von Glasersfeld). Chrisdel 20:46, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

I wonder if all the authors in the proponents list are really relevant. For instance, i'm not sure about : Michael Dummett, Rolf Breuer, George Kelly, Rupert Riedl, David Rosenhan, Gerhard Roth, Gabriel Stolzenberg, Alexander Wendt ? George Kelly for example, according to wikipedia, is a psychologist who developped Personal construct psychology. Then he is not a major proponent for constructivism in epistemology and he could have only a reference in the text in a paragraph talking about this subject. Chrisdel 12:29, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

2 new proponents added, same question : are they really relevant ? For the example i delete George Kelly (see above). Chrisdel 11:53, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

I hear your point. I think Kelly was a proponent of constructivism in epistemology -- but went further to argue the application of that epistemology to therapy. I would compare his role to that of, say, Lenin in communist epistemology. B. Mistler 04:49, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Ok then for Kelly. What about the others ? Does anyone have an idea ? It would be good if each proponent could have a few lines in the text. Chrisdel 05:33, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

The overview claims (without citation) " Kant, Garns, and Marx were among the first to suggest such an ambitious expansion of the power of ideas to inform the material realities of people's lives."

Marx certainly held the opposite view and should be omitted from this list.

PS This is also an illustration of the comments under "Bad". It really is quite breathtakingly ignorant to confuse Kant and Marx and reflects on the quality of the whole article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Proposal: Radical Constructivism - Split the topic[edit]

I have huge difficulties putting "social constructivism", which is inherently inter-ego and not exactly revolutionary, and another approach applying the whole spectrum of systems theories to neuro sciences (e.g. Heinz von Foerster) and yet another approach based on meme-gene coevolution, evolutionary game theory, non-equilibrium thermodynamics and the like. I would like to put it this way:

- The social sciences approach

- The neuro science approach and the

- Dissipative system/ negative entropy/ sunspot event approach

While the topic is clearly the same, the categories are too different to be able to exchange meaningful memes. Especially the third approach is quite mathematical, opening up new channels of communication to physicists (e.g. Schrödinger, Erwin: "What is life?")and the like. The one problem I see is that equations not transferable to English language and word based social theories not transferable to mathematics cannot meaningfully interoperate. And the other is Constructivism essentially is so radical, people tend to view it as a nice set of words, like a metaphor. If you tell them, this is mathematically/ neuro-scientifically rigid, as far as rigidity exists anyway, then there is a totally different force confronting old memes. When Heinz von Foerster says "Realität? Wo haben Sie die denn?" (the meaning is close to: Reality? Can you show me some?) it really means: there is no absolute space (Einstein), there is no absolute time (Einstein), there is no absolute reality (Heisenberg) and there is nothing which is inherently you. And this is not a metaphor, this is hard science as far as we can believe that hard science exists. If you call this viewpoint constructivism, radical constructivism or anything else doesn't matter in so far. What matters is a statement derived by an empirical process, which is not the empirical process of social sciences as we know them. Very short: Just split "social constructivism"/ "radical constructivism". Comments? 20:14, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

There are dozens of interpretations of quantum theory, some of which lie on varying degrees of the usually conceived objective / subjective axis.. And Einstein actually left SPACETIME as a whole invarient even if the components or time and space are relative to an observers reference frame. Einstein increasingly moved away from Machian experientialism about the philosophy of science to realism. Heisenberg's statement can be one about the limitations of knowledge rather than of the lack of an absolute physical reality. I do think that quantum theory in some sense seems to mesh intuitively with constructivistic viewpoints even the realist interpretations of quantum theory, but I think that mapping out these relations would require a lot careful research and thought. And I think certainly views which attempt to go beyond or to undermine notions of neodarwinism in biology such as ecological-evolutionary-developmental systems theoretic approaches do share some common points with constructivist views. Again mapping out in what sense this is the case would also be a lot of work. DivisionByZer0 (talk) 04:24, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm not very familiar with "neuro science etc.", but for my part i would expect from this article to discuss the positivism hypothesis on knowledge as did french writer Jean-Louis Le Moigne (see "A Principal Exposition of Jean-Louis Le Moigne’s Systemic Theory" by Darek M. Eriksson or "Le Moigne's Defense of Constructivism" by E. Von Glasersfeld). That is phenomenologic hypothesis vs ontologic, teleologic (finality) vs deterministic and then systemic modelling principle vs analytic modelling. For me social constructivism, radical constructivism etc all say the same thing but with different approach and words. The idea of an encyclopedic article would be i beleive to make the connections : that would mean to not be too specific with such word or the other. In few words : for me the words radical or social are not necessary for the ideas of constructivism, they are only interesting historically. Chrisdel 12:48, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

As applied to education, kids are encouraged to create their own discovery agenda in groups; they collect observations, they set their rules (called rubics), and network into the local (and Internet) community.

Key components are the zone of proximal development (ZPD), scaffolding, transformitive communication (TC), and situated learning.

Also you have student (mis-)conceptions, sometimes thought of as child science. Children are not wrong, they are "intelligently" wrong, they believe what they believe because it works for them. So, dont mess with their reality.

The ideas that they bring to school become springboards for inquiry. They learn together what is up w/ phenomena. This is better because students tend to disbelieve teachers anyway, and preserve their misconceptions for community life. If the community is doing the investigating, truly accurate (accepted) science becomes the popular perception.

Students take ownership for their work on every level; they take responsibility for their education. Most important, they learn to think and to learn: learning to learn. This is the desire of every nation on the Earth: that children learn to learn.

In science studies, rather than repeat experiments done a thousand times before with predictable results, kids create science that is relevant to their environment so that their science can have some positive impact. In that way, they join the research community: the community of learning.

Constructivism is unpopular with the top-down arrangement of governance; kids learn pure inquiry techniques that will, of course, flush out corruption in the end. Not a good thing if you happen to be governance.

The role of the teacher is Humanist; she is a guide and facilitator. In transformative communication (TC, Pea), the teacher rescues the students when they get "situated" too far out in the deeper waters of discovery: overwhelmed and frustrated.

A big problem with science is that all discovery leads to new inquiry. Kids feel frustrated because they never really achieve solid learning. Science is so wishy-washy! Part of the task of the teacher is to assure them that this is OK.

Interesting about the education approach. But there are other approach of constructivism from scientific disciplines as physics through quantum mechanics, cybernetics and systemic, management through decision making etc. Chrisdel 11:58, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Constructivist epistemology's History[edit]

How constructivism was constructed ? That's a question we can answer by looking at this word's history. I suggest that all the proponents list author's contributions be developped. Chrisdel 12:04, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Listing these writers under a section called "History" seems awkward. In the Overview section, the date stated for the first use of the term is 1967. Under the "history" list, the header states "Contructivism has many roots." I understand that the "roots" mean those who have contributed significantly to the ongoing discussion. However, it seems like someone might find a less awkward way of wording the header of the section, and a better name for it. Such as "Contributers" and "Significant works and writers in Contructivist Epistemology include:" And I would make those changes right now, but my ability to format anything is... not so good.


I've reorganized the article with these main parts : 1 History, 2 Constructivism's concepts and ideas, 3 Constructivism and sciences, 4 Constructivist trends, 5 Quotations, 6 Bibliography, 7 See also, 8 External links. Chrisdel 10:26, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Moving content of paragraph "Social constructivist education" in article Constructivism (learning theory)[edit]

I suggest to move the content of the paragraph "Social constructivist education" which is about "A social constructivist learning intervention" in the article Constructivism (learning theory). Indeed, this paragraph is too long for Constructivist epistemology. Chrisdel 04:29, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Critics ?[edit]

More information on these critics recently added would be useful, as they are unknown in wikipedia... Chrisdel 02:52, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Ontology and Constructivism as a System of Verification[edit]

Constructivism lends itself to individual perception and should be considered as a candidate system for proving existence theory. Consider the constructivist approach to individual creation of thought processes and individual perception. The only means for true verification and validation of existing objects can be found by individual conclusiveness. As a simple example consider a perception test which presents a picture which contains multiple representations. It has been shown that once an individual chooses a concrete representation of the picture the individual has a decreased capacity to see the picture as anything other than the first conclusion. Expanding on this test, consider proving a reality in a situation where one individual asks another individual what they perceive regarding an object, but by the asking of the question brings into question the verification process which is intended to prove an existence because the asking individual has directed the asked individual's perception in the same perceptive direction as the asker's perception and in doing so the asked individual's validation has been tainted by the forcing of consideration into a single projection. In that regard, when considering verification of objects a position of least directive should be implemented. Therefore, the efficiency in a constructivist model must be empowerment and delegation to the empowered. When communication is concerned it is inevitable that perception verification has the potential for directive narrowing, and with this in mind an accurate verification system should allow for all individuals involved to develop their own conclusions pre-communication in order to minimize perceptive narrowing. If a significant number of self-directed individuals arrive at conclusions on the properties and procedures of an object and collectively review the observations gathered pre-communication then the accuracy of checks and balances will be maximized and the pre-conception narrowing will be minimized. Therefore, priority is given to self-awareness and self-conclusions and the subject matter of conversation will not be prematurely narrowed. On a side note the constructivism model can be considered as a sub-type of the indefinite monism model, but sub-typing should not be considered as narrowing. Instead the sub-typing should be considered as a branch to a tree with infinite branches within itself. Therefore, constructivism should not be considered as a concrete implementation of indefinite monism, but as an abstract tree branching off of an abstract tree. The constructivism branch of indefinite monism differs from its super-type in that awareness is an all encompassing understanding of reality, but it is extremely vague in its definition such that indefinite monism is not specific about what it defines whereas constructivism considers the connections between awareness and builds a foundation for explanation of plural awareness by considering awareness in terms of perceptions and conclusions. In other words, indefinite monism can be thought of as defining reality as awareness, and constructivism extends that model to explain what individuals are aware of as a cohesive system of foundations and conclusions. The constructivism model gains leverage from other models of ontology by individual construction. Considering a reality through subjective constructivism gathers insights not only in the objectivity of the state of an object, but also in the procedure to arrive at the objective state. Some philosophies consider a realm which exists outside of space and time, and individual constructivism allows observation of the processes each unique subjective individual implements to arrive at conclusions about these objects even going as far as to consider observation of the observation process without directive narrowing although it doesn't provide proof of existence of such a realm it does provide a sufficient procedural model to view reality not only as state objects, but also as procedure objects. In other words, decomposition of a state objects existence can be considered using time and space whereas decomposition of a procedure object is too complex to observe as a snapshot of space in time because perception allows an individual to view a tangible object as a visual representation in the form of a snapshot. However, perception can't condense a procedural object into a single sense such as vision or hearing or feeling. It is not rational for an individual to state that all of the reasons involved in conception of a procedure have been traced to a number of precedents because in order for the individual to do so the individual would have to consider and trace down the reasons of all things which have passed to bring the individual to the procedure which is to be considered for preface, and belief in external objects must state that not everything which an individual perceives is consciously recognized. The proof can be considered by the different perceptions relayed by multiple individual all viewing the same state object. If an individual is incapable of relaying a similar perception then it is not necessarily true that the individual didn't see the similarity, but that the individual's awareness had an inability to recognize and/or relay the perception which should not infer that the individual will not have the ability to recognize and/or relay the perception at a future time(such as the sudden clicking of a previously observed exercise which is not immediately understood). Proximity of development can be considered in the verification and awareness of existing realities in such a way that an individual builds their own system for belief based on their body of knowledge. For example, surveying individuals living in medieval times about jets would probably have resulted in disbelief of the reality of stepping into an inanimate object and lifting off into the sky as a mode of transportation because in that time frame such travel was outside of their proximity for reality. Furthermore, the invention of the original airplanes happening at the time it did shouldn't be thought to be a coincidence, but rather as a result of proximity of development for building an airplane. Therefore, certain preconditions must be satisfied in order for the conception of new realities, and a period of time must also pass for acceptance of the new realities to circulate into an objective reality. Intuition can also be explained within the constructivism model using the proximity of development. An individual can observe a situation and draw conclusions which can't be explained as mere coincidence and some of the conclusions might be logically explained as coming to be by consideration of conditions which are just beyond the bounds of the proximity of the individual such that the individual might not have a stable thorough understanding for the conditions that were encountered, but might still have the capacity to derive meaningful conclusions from those intuitions. Constructivism allows meaning to be observed in terms of awareness and verified using subjectivity and standardized using explanations based on thorough verifications of perceptions. Verifications should not be constricted simply to reinforcement of truths. Two major verification systems can be realized through the principles of assimilation and accommodation. Verification regarding assimilation fits with the model of reinforcing truths such that if an individual verifies a truth through reinforcement perceptions then the object of the truth might be worth assimilating. If the truth is not properly reinforced then an individual might delay assimilation due to the possibility of fallacy. Verification regarding accommodation contrasts the reinforcement of truth on grounds of redundancy. If the current state of conclusiveness regarding an object satisfies the truth of the object then there is no premise for construction to accommodate the truth of the object(because it is already thought to be true). Therefore, accommodation verification attempts to disprove the truth in order to make apparent the inadequacy of the current state of conclusiveness which gives rise to the need for accommodation to stabilize a comprehensive state of truth. For example, concerning self-improvement an individual might approach another individual for advice from three abstract stances: expecting verification of the current conceptualization as a proper assimilation, expecting contra-verification of the current conceptualization as an inadequate assimilation which requires accommodation, without expectation in hope of establishing a conceptualization which doesn't require excessive accommodation. Generally speaking, discussion leading to agreement gives rise to reinforcement of assimilation and discussion leading to disagreement gives rise to reinforcement of accommodation.
Proximity of development is regarding the zone of proximal development established by Vygotsky. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Openprogramming (talkcontribs) 18:41, 21 April 2007 (UTC).

You may want to do additional research into the use of the "enter" key as a means of inserting paragraph breaks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:38, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Newly inserted "Criticisms" section[edit]

I've removed the following from the Criticisms section:

If that is the case, however, then why can't it be true at the level of the individual? Why can't there be incommensurability between individuals within the one society? Constructivism's reply would have to be that concepts are developed in a commonly experienced social context, so this could not occur. This claim, however, cannot be sustained because it is entirely possible that each individual's own personal experience of socially constructed meanings is entirely different from every other person's. If this were true, then it is entirely possible that each individual's own conception of supposedly common meanings would only be their own subjective experiences. And ironically, if there really were incommensurable worldviews held by each individual - that is, there were absolutely no meanings held in common - then there would be no way any individual could know this because there would be no "meta-language" by which this could be expressed.

I also placed an Original Research/WP:V template at the head of the article. Although the article lead is reasonably sourced, the rest of the article plainly is not reasonably sourced to date. I also moved some resources provided by an anon IP contributor into the "Further reading" section, since none of the authors have WP articles such that they can reasonably go into "See also". ... Kenosis (talk) 20:00, 14 September 2008 (UTC)


It is written in the article: "Critics then appeal to the following axiom of logic: "if a proposition is both true and not-true, then it is not-true"; thus, on social constructivism's own lights, it is false." This is not an axiom of logic. Instead, if a proposition is both true and not-true then the theory within which you are operating is inconsistent. (talk) 18:02, 30 March 2009 (UTC)wikidsp128.223.96.216 (talk) 18:02, 30 March 2009 (UTC)


This is bad -- uneditably bad. It is based on a fundamental confusion between two separate claims: the claim that knowledge is socially constructed, and the claim that facts are socially constructed. The exposition of the relevant arguments is largely incoherent, and there are many individual howlers, including the claim that constructivism is the opposite of positivism. Moreover, the topic of social epistemology already has its own article. Jgb37 (talk) 10:47, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

This level of ignorance and abuse of out of context cites is fairly typical for "scholars" of this genre.

The criticisms are not valid[edit]

Quote: Numerous criticisms have been leveled at Constructivist epistemology. The most common one is that it either explicitly advocates or implicitly reduces to relativism. This is because it takes the concept of truth to be a socially "constructed" (and thereby socially relative) one. This leads to the charge of self-refutation: if what is to be regarded as "true" is relative to a particular social formation, then this very conception of truth must itself be only regarded as being "true" in this society. In another social formation, it may well be false. If so, then social constructivism itself would be false in that social formation. Further, one could then say that social constructivism could be both true and false simultaneously. Critics then appeal to the following axiom of logic: "if a proposition is both true and not-true, then it is not-true"; thus, on social constructivism's own lights, it is false.

The paragraph above states that if truth is constructed then constructivism is self-refuting because another society may construct truth differently. This is not a valid criticism. Just because different societies may construct truth differently does not mean that they are not both engaged in a construction of truth.

It doesn't say that at all actually. The objection is the standard Cognitive Relativistic one. You don't get it because you don't realize that what you consider "truth" is ideology but you fail to consider your "truth"/ideology is right/wrong if all other ideologies are right/wrong making all ideologies equally valid (including those of the "oppressors"). You also have problems in the conflation of fact and belief (see: Ayers). For a continental take, read Kolakowski. He refuted this kind of metaclaim oriented relativism years ago. For you to make a claim like this, you have to at least adopt a weak Perspectivism or a weak relativism. There's also the matter of universals - semantic and otherwise. CE is terribly inconsistent when it encounters those. Guinness4life (talk) 02:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

If it is a fact that the "truth is out there" waiting to be measured objectively, then how is this to be done? How can you know anything independently of your theories and definitions of what it is, and the methods you use founded upon these theories and definitions.

If we don't construct truth, then you run into objectivist first cause dilemmas. (talk) 08:33, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

The following is also spurious:

Quote: Another criticism of constructivism is that it holds that the concepts of two different social formations be entirely different and incommensurate. This being the case, it is impossible to make comparative judgements about statements made according to each worldview. This is because the criteria of judgement will themselves have to be based on some worldview or other. If this is the case, then it brings into question how communication between them about the truth or falsity of any given statement could be established.

The answer is simple: truth exists contextually, not objectively. The objectivity of something is relative to its context, and as such comparative evaluations can be made contextually. The notion that there has to be some offical "truth" belongs to the mindset of law-and-order types. This is not necessary for people operating at higher stages of reasoning: see Kohlberg. The terms used, i.e. "impossible to make comparative judgements" and "truth or falsity" indicates that the writer has completely missed the point constructivism is making. (talk) 08:38, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

The objection is pretty clear, actually. If knowledge and truth are socially constructed, we cannot make comparative judgments between worldviews except inside another worldview that has been similarly socially constructed. You say that "truth exists contextually," but ignore the fact that social constructivism certainly claims that an essential part of this context is the society constructing that truth, meaning you cannot compare two societies' worldviews, because they exist in different contexts. Eebster the Great (talk) 01:12, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm not quite sure what point is being made by the following since the criticisms don't seem to follow through, as such I can only guess at what they are attempting to say:

Quote: Social Constructivists[who?] often argue that constructivism is liberating because it either (1) enables oppressed groups to reconstruct "the World" in accordance with their own interests rather than according to the interests of dominant groups in society, or (2) compels people to respect the alternative worldviews of oppressed groups because there is no way of judging them to be inferior to dominant worldviews.

Well what constructivism is saying is that judgements of good and bad are subjective. So you can judge inferior/superior, etc. but these ideas will be value judgements, not objective facts. (talk) 09:20, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

I'd say relative (since it involves classes as oppressed entities), not subjective (which would involve individuals at the phenomenological level). Of course "social justice", which conveniently aligns with the belief system of people who follow CE and is objective truth. Huh. Funny how that works out.

Quote: As the Wittgensteinian philosopher Gavin Kitching[4] argues, however, constructivists usually implicitly presuppose a deterministic view of language which severely constrains the minds and use of words by members of societies: they are not just "constructed" by language on this view, but are literally "determined" by it.

Language is created - and its structure, once created, goes on to further structure thought in that image. It is a dialectical process. (talk) 09:20, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

See: It's really not. That's psychotic. Not even Lacan goes that far See: Marr and the Soviet Linguistics Controversy if you mean Marxist. Dialectical? Do you mean Hegelian or Marxist? Either way, I don't see how that can ever be even so much as verified, let alone disproven. Guinness4life (talk) 02:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Quote: Kitching notes the contradiction here: somehow the advocate of constructivism is not similarly constrained. While other individuals are controlled by the dominant concepts of society, the advocate of constructivism can transcend these concepts and see though them.

Advocates are similarly constrained, what constructivist is claiming not to be? You view what you perceive through the structure of your own perceptive mechanisms and assumptions. That doesn't mean you can't be conscious of yourself making assumptions. It doesn't mean that you can't be conscious of the judgements of others as being judgements - that is transcendence. True constructivists don't claim to be objective, they claim to be relative and contextual.

Objectivity rests on subjective judgements. Can you really know anything independently of your perceptions and judgements about what it is? (talk) 08:54, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Solipsism much? See: Wittgenstein. You're conscious of other's judgements? I can't do that. Sounds like Buddhism to me. Or do you have superpowers? Guinness4life (talk) 02:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Quote: Solipsism much? See: Wittgenstein. You're conscious of other's judgements? I can't do that. Sounds like Buddhism to me. Or do you have superpowers? Guinness4life (talk) 02:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

It isn't solipsism because i'm not claiming that other's minds don't exist, but simply that you can't know them objectively. The second part of your comment is obtuse: i'm not talking about mind reading, i'm talking about the words you have written on this page conveying your ideas. The very fact that you have misunderstood what I have written is very proof of the point that I am making - you colour information according to your own judgements. (talk) 08:55, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

quote: (User talk:Guinness4life) You don't get it because you don't realize that what you consider "truth" is ideology...

No actually that is my point - so called truth (including my own), and the projections and assumptions that inform it, is ideology. (talk) 09:14, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Please indent underneath what you are responding to. It makes responses easier to follow.
Sophistry. You're denying Truth and asserting your system is right and stating I'm wrong. Why bother putting forth a view if they're all right? Also, like I said, that whole Social Justice schtick really mucks this up. Seriously, just read the Kolakowski I noted above. You don't seem to get what a metaclaim is. Better yet, read Kant or at least the Kant section of Russel's History of Western Philosophy. Then read Berlin & Kaye's writings on semantic universals —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:09, 28 February 2010 (UTC)


The most serious criticism of naive social constructionism is that it becomes impossible to stand up for basic justice claims across cultures, e.g. those enumerated in the 1948 U.N. Declaration of Universal Human Rights. How can one oppose full clitoridectomy on the grounds of bodily autonomy for women if the response from constructivists is that we're attacking a cultural practice that "we don't understand in its full context?" Or the practice of burning widows alive? Or judicially-sanctioned mutilation, or infanticide, or a centuries' tradition of tribal massacre and countermassacre? Where do "universal human rights" come from if not the Western European Enlightenment tradition that gave the world the U.N. to begin with?

So here I go sounding like the worst kind of "well-meaning" Eurocentric essentialist. But I don't see how it's possible to be a feminist, let alone a supporter of universal human rights, without taking a stand which blatantly calls out certain ageless cultural practices in the name of an ethic doubtlessly derived from a singular and globally "privileged" perspective.

Snardbafulator (talk) 09:05, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

This article is about the epistemology (the way people formulate knowledge), not about moral philosophy. This is a straw man argument. You're connecting constructivist epistemology with postmodernism and arguing against that, since its an easier target. This connection could be disputed. I think we have to focus on the epistemological argument here. Constructivist epistemology by itself doesn't convey any moral judgements one way or the other. It's basically saying that we construct rather than discover knowledge. The human mind doesn't absorb facts like a spounge, but actively builds a priori knowledge into a coherent view of the world that it uses to interpret reality. Because we use this world view to evaluate all of our experiences, it's impossible to see the world outside of it.
Postmodernism uses this argument to support its position but one does not necessarily imply the other. In the interests of maintaining a coherent article I think this criticism should not be included here. Instead, it would be more appropriate in the article on postmodernism. Snickeringshadow (talk) 11:18, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Constructivism - Essentialism[edit]

In this meaning, Constructivism is seen as a replacement for Essentialism and this in relation to national and historical evolution of units.

Essentialism (in this meaning) is an outdated concept that states that the modern nations were inevitable and that any sensation or feeling of Nationalism or Identification with a political/geographical unit is the result of the idea of the state. Thus they feel that the state is formed, and that nationalist feelings and identification with the state is a consequence of this (First you had to have America/France before you could have Americans/French).

Constructivism is brought up as a new, better concept that states you first need to cultivate the sensation of being part of it. If people feel like a unit, the unit will become distinct. Thus, you get people who identify themselves as part of a group, and from that, a nation will emerge (over time/eventually). Thus, this theory states that people will feel part of an American/French group (as having the identity tag of being American/French) and the actual Nation state will follow as a result of this.

- Essentialism states that the American Nation predates the moment it's citizens start thinking of themselves as American. That before the Nation existed, they considered themselves British. - Constructivism states that they were part of the British Empire but considered themselves more American then British already. That the feeling of being different from the British led to them feeling unhappy with being part of the British Empire and led to the Revolution and eventually the formation of the American Nation. -- (talk) 10:54, 27 January 2014 (UTC)