Publication 1806

Scott B. (2001) Gordon Pask’s Conversation Theory: A domain independent constructivist model of human knowing. Foundation of Science 6: 343–360. Fulltext at
Although it is conceded as argued by many that distinct knowledge domains do present particular problems of coming to know, in this paper it is argued that it is possible and useful to construct a domain independent model of the processes of coming to know, one in which observers share understandings and do so in agreed ways. The model in question is part of the conversation theory CT of Gordon Pask. CT, as a theory of theory construction and communication, has particular relevance for foundational issues in science and science education. CT explicitly propounds a radical constructivist RC epistemology. A brief account is given of the main tenets of RC and CT’s place in that tradition and the traditions of cybernetics. The paper presents a brief non-technical account of the main concepts of CT including elaborations by Laurillard (1993) and Harri-Augstein and Thomas (1993). As part of CT, Pask also elaborated a methodology – knowledge and task analysis – for analysing the structure of different knowledge domains; this methodology is sketched in outline.


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