Publication 8047

Matthews M. (1992) Constructivism and empiricism: An incomplete divorce. Research in Science Education 22(1): 299–307. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/8047
The paper outlines the significant influence of constructivism in contemporary science and mathematics education, and emphasises the central role that epistemology plays in constructivist theory and practice. It is claimed that despite the anti-empiricism of much constructivist writing, in most forms its epistemology is nevertheless firmly empiricist. In particular it is subject-centered and experience-based. It is argued that its relativist, if not skeptical conclusions, only follow given these empiricist assumptions. Further it is suggested that such assumptions belong to Aristotelian science, and were effectively overthrown with the modern science of Galileo and Newton. Thus constructivism cannot provide understanding of post-Aristotelian science.

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