Publication 2780

Quale A. (2007) Radical constructivism, and the sin of relativism. Science & Education 16: 231–266. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/2780
The epistemology of relativism that is featured by the theory of radical construc-tivism is addressed. In particular, I examine several objections, all based on this epistemic position of relativism, that are often raised by critics of the theory: the charge of reality denial (which, it is often claimed, must lead ultimately to the epistemically problematic position of solipsism), the assertion of self-referential contradiction (a theory that rejects the notion of truth cannot itself claim to be true), and the accusation that the theory must lead to a position of ethical indifference. It is demonstrated that these objections do not hold: they arise, to a large extent, from the failure to distinguish properly between different knowledge domains – spe¬cifically, between the notions of cognitive and non-cognitive knowledge. Some concrete examples, specifically pertaining to the conflict between natural science and creationism, are addressed; and their relevance for science education is discussed.

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