Publication 3022

Garrison J. (1997) An alternative to von Glasersfeld’s subjectivism in science education: Deweyan social constructivism. Science & Education 6: 301–312. Fulltext at
An influential view of constructivism in science and mathematics educational research and practice is that of Ernst von Glasersfeld. It is a peculiarly subjectivist form of constructivism that should not be attractive to science and mathematics educators concerned with retaining some sort of realism that leaves room for objectivity. The subjectivist constructivism of von Glasersfeld also becomes entangled in untenable mind/body and subject/object dualisms. Finally, these dualisms are unnecessary for social constructivism. I will provide one example of a social constructivist alternative to social constructivism, that of the pragmatic philosopher John Dewey. In presenting Dewey’s position I will appeal to Ockham’s razor, that is, the admonition not to multiply entities beyond necessity, to shave off the needless mentalistic and psychic entities that lead von Glasersfeld into his subjectivism and dualism.

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