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ERIC Number: EJ1070603
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1744-9642
"'And They Lived Happily Ever After": The Fairy Tale of Radical Constructivism and Von Glasersfeld's Ethical Disengagement
d'Agnese, Vasco
Ethics and Education, v10 n2 p131-151 2015
Is von Glasersfeld's constructivism actually radical? In this article, I respond to this question by analyzing von Glasersfeld's main works. I argue that the essential theoretical move of radical constructivism--namely the assertion that reality is the construction of a human mind that only responds to the subjective perception of "what fits"--results in a conservative vision of reality, knowledge, and education. To the extent that the friction with, and the challenge of, reality is eliminated, knowledge remains only a subjective affair and the world is reduced to a living tautology. In this way, von Glasersfeld constructs a theory of ethical disengagement in which personal responsibility is de facto denied. Thus, to the extent that education entails (and, in a sense, is) responsibility, change, and comparison, radical constructivism is a theory that is unsuitable for education. I also attempt to argue that the equivalence between radical constructivism and relativism and nihilism that many support is incorrect; relativism and nihilism, indeed, stem from a strong moral stance; thus, they may be educationally promising.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A