Publication 3742

Noaparast K. B. (1995) Toward a more realistic constructivism. In: Neimeyer R. A. & Neimeyer G. J. (eds.) Advances in personal construct theory. Volume 3. JAI Press, Greenwich CT: 37–59. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/3742
Kelly’s constructive epistemology needs to transcend its background of instrumentalism arising from Dewey’s influence. What enables us to well avoid instrumentalism is a notion of truth that incorporates both coherence and correspondence. If we were to abandon coherence, we would have to embrace the naïve conception of realism, while by abandoning correspondence we would have to embrace instrumentalism because we would have to consider the workability of a theory or a construction system and its coherence with previously successful ones as constituting the truth of a given theory or construction system. Such a realistic constructivism provides a more satisfactory conception of personal constructs. According to this view, we no longer think that personal constructs are either true or false, rather they are divided into true and false in accordance with the grasp of reality reflected in our best theories. In other words, having provided a theory of truth, we are ready to compare different personal constructs with the grasp of reality involved in the theory in terms of their correspondence with that grasp. Furthermore, this conception of constructivism makes it possible to talk of the approximation of personal constructs to reality. Having provided a conception of correspondence, not only have we avoided instrumentalism, but also talking of approximation makes more sense. This is because our best theories provide an account of the world with reference to which we can talk of more or less approximate personal constructs. In this sense, more valid personal constructs are those that are more approximate, that is, more correspondent to the reality.
Comment: Reprinted in Advances in Cognitive Science 4(2): 45-57, 2002

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