Publication 40

Richards L. D. (2007) Connecting Radical Constructivism to Social Transformation and Design. Constructivist Foundations 2(2-3): 129–135. Fulltext at
Purpose: This paper intends to connect ideas from the radical constructivist approach to cognition and learning to ideas from the constraint-theoretic approach to social policy formulation. It then extends these ideas to a dialogic approach to social transformation and design. Method: After demonstrating a correspondence between von Glasersfeld’s fit/match distinction and my constraint-oriented/goal-oriented distinction with respect to policy formulation, the paper evaluates the basic assumptions of radical constructivism and builds from them a framework for thinking and talking about a desirable society and ways to participate in its realization. Findings: The ideas of von Glasersfeld’s radical constructivism contribute significantly to the development of a conceptual base for applied research on social activism by raising new questions and stimulating new thinking. Practical implications: Social activism in everyday affairs can be a way of living in the “world.” Conclusion: The work and thought of Ernst von Glasersfeld opens a path toward a rich array of concepts and ideas with the potential to inform efforts in a wide variety of human endeavors.


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