Publication 4246

Small R. (2003) A fallacy in constructivist epistemology. Journal of Philosophy of Education 37(3): 483–502. Fulltext at
Constructivism comes in a number of forms. Some are models of learning which involve few, if any, startling epistemological claims. On the other hand, what has been promoted as ‘radical constructivism’ holds that our concepts cannot be related directly to an external reality, and that claims for the objectivity of knowledge are therefore unjustified. This standpoint is an anti-realist version of evolutionary epistemology. I argue that it relies on a mistaken interpretation of the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection, and that its application of this model to the relation between knowledge and the world is also mistaken.

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