Publication 3979

Johnson D. K. (1993) The metaphysics of constructivism. Cybernetics and Human Knowing 1(4): 27–41.
I assume that every theory of knowing presupposes an ontology or metaphysics, identifying the organization of beings capable of knowing something and the domain of objects and relations to which their knowledge claims might apply. Constructivist epistemology will be no exception. In particular, Ernst von Glaserfeld’s “radical” constructivism and Humberto Maturana’s “bringforthist” position incline toward metaphysical idealism, as both theories overstate the antirealist implications of a trivially true version of perspectivalism. My outline of hypothetical realism is designed to highlight several constructivist misconceptions, including: (1) the idea that there can be no meaningful access to a world that exists and has a nature independently of our making; (2) the idea that constructivism alone recognizes the irreducible plurality of our perspectives on the world; and (3) the idea that constructivist anti-realism is compatible with a focus on the social or linguistic nature of experience.
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