Publication 3957

Mackay N. (1997) Constructivism and the logic of explanation. Journal of Constructivist Psychology 10(4): 339–361. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/3957
The abandonment of motivational concepts in personal construct theory paves the way for the metatheoretical principles of constructivism: a cognitivist mode of explanation, a constructivist epistemology, a view of the person as autonomous agent, and an anti-realist ontology. Each of these is unsustainable. A nonmotivational and purely cognitive form of explanation is deficient, and dependence on the idea of voluntary agency to redress this deficiency results in explanatory regress. Both the constructivist theory of indirect knowledge (which is necessarily representationist) and the anti-realist ontology it entails are incoherent and self-defeating. Taken as a general metatheory, constructivism fails. However, constructivist theory and practice are of value when taken as a psychological approach that encourages self-reflection and tolerance and that examines the structures of knowledge and their role in the determination of action.

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