In his comment, McGann argues that in my “From Sensorimotor Dependencies to Perceptual Practices: Making Enactivism Social,” I have overlooked a group of enactivist theories that can be grouped under the participatory sense-making label. In this reply, I explain that the omission is due to the fact that such theories are not accounts of perception. It is argued that, unlike participatory sense-making, the approach of the “From Sensorimotor Dependencies to Perceptual Practices” article does not focus on the perceptual aspects of things social, but on the social aspects that are constitutive of perception in general. I conclude by underscoring the central argument of the original article: that the adequate notion to make enactivism about perception social is that of “perceptual practices,” a social practices-based notion of perception.
Enactivism is an emerging perspective both in cognitive science and in cultural psychology. Whereas the enactive approach in general has focused on sense-making as an embodied and situated activity, enactive cultural psychology emphasizes the expressive and dynamically enacted nature of cultural meaning. This chapter first situates enactivism within a tradition of expressivist thinking that has historical roots both in radical Enlightenment thought and Romantic reactions against the rationalization of human nature. It will then offer a view of our human biology that can be reconciled with an account of meaning as irreducibly normative. By emphasizing the consensual rather than the supposedly shared nature of meaningful conduct, enactivism avoids some of the classical pitfalls in thinking about culture. In the conclusion a genetic enactive psychology will be presented, which understands sense-making not as a mediated activity, but as a competence acquired through cultural training and personal stylization.
As sentient and social beings, we live in hope that we can be understood when we try to communicate with each other but we also know that we might be wrong. We strive for better understandings, engaging in an on-going dance of collective sense-making. This paper considers how communication among individuals involves co-creation of meaning by exploring narratives those expressed by a speaker and those created internally by listeners in efforts to achieve understanding. We note that the extent of these efforts varies from reliance on prejudice at one extreme to deep listening at the other, and that organizational barriers may exist which inhibit cocreation of meaning. We suggest that an open systems approach, which enables individuals to explore and share their contextually dependent understandings, will be helpful. We propose a framework that supports and guides participants in endeavors to co-create understandings of problem spaces through storytelling and listening.
The merits of Empirical Modelling (EM) principles and tools as a constructivist approach to computer science education are illustrated with reference to ways in which they have been used in teaching topics related to the standard computer science curriculum. The products of EM are interactive models – construals – that serve a sense-making role. Model-building proceeds in an incremental fashion through the construction of networks of definitions that reflect the observables, dependencies and agents associated with a current situation. The three principal case studies discussed (teaching bubblesort, solving Sudoku puzzles, and recognising groups from their abstract multiplication tables) highlight respects in which EM accounts for aspects of computing that cannot be effectively addressed by thinking primarily in terms of abstractions, procedures and mechanisms. The discussion of EM as a constructivist approach to computer science education is set in the context of an analysis of constructivism in computer science published by Ben-Ari in 2001. Reconciling EM’s constructivist epistemology with this analysis involves recognising its pretensions to a broader view of computer science.
Beynon M. & Harfield A. (2007) Lifelong learning, empirical modelling and the promises of constructivism. Journal of Computers 2(3): 43–55. https://cepa.info/4550
Educational technology is seen as key for lifelong learning, but it has yet to live up to expectation. We argue that current learning environments are typically oriented too much towards structured learning to meet the needs of the lifelong learner. Environments for lifelong learning demand a higher degree of autonomy for the learner, must be open to eclectic sources, support soft informal learning activity, and accommodate evolution both in the experience of the learner and in the context in which this occurs. We propose sense-making through the construction of suitable interactive artefacts as a core activity for lifelong learning, and discuss and illustrate how this can be supported using Empirical Modelling. The merits of Empirical Modelling as a constructivist approach are assessed with reference to a criterion recently proposed by Bruno Latour, namely, the extent to which it strengthens five guarantees, taken together.
Bitbol M. (2020) A phenomenological ontology for physics: Merleau-Ponty and QBism. In: Wiltsche H. & Berghofer P. (eds.) Phenomenological approaches to physics. Springer, Cham: 227–242. https://cepa.info/6933
Few researchers of the past made sense of the collapse of representations in the quantum domain, and looked for a new process of sense-making below the level of representations: the level of the phenomenology of perception and action; the level of the elaboration of knowledge out of experience. But some recent philosophical readings of quantum physics all point in this direction. They all recognize the fact that the quantum revolution is a revolution in our conception of knowledge. In these recent readings of quantum physics (such as QBism), quantum states are primarily generators of probabilistic valuations. Accordingly, they should not be seen as statements about what is the case, but as statements about what each agent can reasonably expect to be the case. Three features of such non-interpretational, non-committal approaches to quantum physics strongly evoke the phenomenological epistemology. These are: (1) their deliberately first-person stance; (2) their suspension of judgment about a presumably external domain of objects, and subsequent redirection of attention towards the activity of constituting these objects; (3) their perception-like conception of quantum knowledge. But beyond phenomenological epistemology, these new approaches of quantum physics also make implicit use of a phenomenological ontology. Chris Fuchs’s participatory realism thus formulates a non-external variety of realism for one who is deeply immersed in reality. But participatory realism strongly resembles Merleau-Ponty’s endo-ontology, which is a phenomenological ontology for one who deeply participates in Being. This remarkable analogy is supported by Merleau-Ponty himself. Indeed, 50 years before QBism, Merleau-Ponty acknowledged the strong kinship between the status of quantum mechanics and his phenomenology of embodiment. He did so in two texts that remained unpublished until after his death: Visible and invisible, and the Lectures on Nature. The final part of this article is then devoted to a study of Merleau-Ponty’s conception of quantum physics.
Candiotto L. (2022) Author’s Response: The Space In-Between. Constructivist Foundations 17(3): 214–219. https://cepa.info/7933
Abstract: The first set of topics is dedicated to the theoretical framework I employ in my target article. I will explain (a) why sense-making is participatory from the beginning and (b) how a personal communication with a place is possible. The second set of topics tackles my proposal’s ethical and political significance. I will consider (c) the objection on how it is possible to love the unlovable and (d) the question of what should change for us to love nature.
Candiotto L. (2022) Loving the Earth by Loving a Place: A Situated Approach to the Love of Nature. Constructivist Foundations 17(3): 179–189. https://cepa.info/7922
Context: I extend the enactive account of loving in romantic relationships that I developed with Hanne De Jaegher to the love of nature. Problem: I challenge a universal conceptualization of love of nature that does not account for the differences that are inherent to nature. As an alternative, I offer a situated account of loving a place as participatory sense-making. However, a question arises: How is it possible to communicate with the other-than-human? Method: I use panpsychist and enactive conceptual tools to better define this situated approach to the love of nature and to reply to the research question. In particular, I focus on Mathews’s “becoming native” and the generative tensions that unfold in a dialectic of encounter when a common language is not shared. Results: The fundamental difference experienced in encountering the other-than-human is generative for building up the human-Earth connection if we let each other be listened to. I describe the ethical dimension that permeates this type of “enactive listening” at the core of a situated account of love of nature. Implications: Love of nature is of paramount importance in our current climate crisis characterized by environmental anxiety, despair, and anger. A situated love of nature emphasizes the importance of community-based local interventions to preserve the Earth. Love, thus understood as a fundamental moral and political power, is a catalyst for environmental activism. Constructivist content: My article links to participatory sense-making as defined by De Jaegher and Di Paolo, and De Jaegher’s loving epistemology. It offers a broader understanding of participatory sense-making that includes the other-than-human. It also introduces the new concept of “enactive listening.”
In this paper, we introduce an enactive account of loving as participatory sense-making inspired by the “I love to you” of the feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray. Emancipating from the fusionist concept of romantic love, which understands love as unity, we conceptualise loving as an existential engagement in a dialectic of encounter, in continuous processes of becoming-in-relation. In these processes, desire acquires a certain prominence as the need to know (the other, the relation, oneself) more. We build on Irigaray’s account of love to present a phenomenology of loving interactions and then our enactive account. Finally, we draw some implications for ethics. These concern language, difference, vulnerability, desire, and self-transformation.