Three constructivist paradigms are distinguished. Exogenous constructivism (rooted in a mechanistic metaphor) emphasizes the reconstruction of structures preformed in the environment. Endogenous constructivism (rooted in an organismic metaphor) emphasizes the coordination of previous organismic structures. Dialectical constructivism (rooted in a contextualistic metaphor) emphasizes the construction of new structures out of organism/environment interaction. It is suggested that more general metatheories integrating exogenous, endogenous, and dialectical aspects of the construction of knowledge can and should be formulated. Such formulations would not attempt an impossible synthesis of the root metaphors, but rather integrate them in a coherent metatheory by specifying the boundary conditions in which each root metaphor best applies. An example of such a metatheory, based primarily on Piagetian ideas, is presented.
Moshman D. (2011) Adolescent rationality and development: Cognition, morality, and identity. Third Edition. Psychology Press, New York.
This book provides a constructivist account of the development of reasoning, rationality, morality, and identity in adolescence and early adulthood. The final section includes a chapter entitled “Pluralist rational constructivism” that looks directly at constructivism as a metatheory of development. It builds on earlier discussion to develop a version of constructivism that is rooted in the rational constructivism of Jean Piaget but more pluralist than traditional stage theory.
Moshman D. & Timmons M. (1982) The construction of logical necessity. Human Development 25(5): 309–323.
Empiricist and nativist approaches to understanding the origins and development of conceptions of logical necessity are proposed and criticized. A constructivist alternative is proposed, incorporating contemporary ideas regarding the role of structure, mechanisms of development, the metacognitive basis of stages, and the relation of development and learning. Three stages are postulated. The first involves the development of various classification and seriation behaviors. The second (concrete) stage is marked by a reflection on these behaviors, involving the construction of implicit concepts of necessity which, given the truth of certain premises, require certain conclusions. Finally, the third (formal) stage is marked by a further metacognitive reconstruction of logical necessity on a plane still further removed from empirical truth, thereby yielding the concept of inferential validity. Relevant research is briefly reviewed.