Publication 7559

Agnew N. M. & Brown J. L. (1989) Foundations for a model of knowing I. Constructing reality. Canadian Psychology 30(2): 152–167. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/7559
Traditional views of knowledge are being challenged. An emerging “constructivist” perspective, as proposed by George Kelly, an engineer turned clinician, suggests that to a large degree we construct reality. In his “constructive alternativism” Kelly assumes that we validate our hypotheses and beliefs through subjectively construed goodness-of-fit criteria applied to perceived differences between anticipations and feedback. His model of construing is compatible with those emerging in the history and philosophy of science and in cognitive psychology. Nevertheless, constructivists must answer a perplexing question: How can fallible knowledge, constructed as it is from abstracted and incomplete representations of objects and events, capture and maintain our confidence, as it does, and furthermore prove highly functional, as it does?

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