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ERIC Number: EJ925063
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 46
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
Realism vs. Constructivism in Contemporary Physics: The Impact of the Debate on the Understanding of Quantum Theory and Its Instructional Process
Karakostas, Vassilios; Hadzidaki, Pandora
Science & Education, v14 n7-8 p607-629 Nov 2005
In the present study we attempt to incorporate the philosophical dialogue about physical reality into the instructional process of quantum mechanics. Taking into account that both scientific realism and constructivism represent, on the basis of a rather broad spectrum, prevalent philosophical currents in the domain of science education, the compatibility of their essential commitments is examined against the conceptual structure of quantum theory. It is argued in this respect that the objects of science do not simply constitute "personal constructions" of the human mind for interpreting nature, as individualist constructivist consider, neither do they form products of a "social construction", as sociological constructivist assume; on the contrary, they reflect objective structural aspects of the physical world. A realist interpretation of quantum mechanics, we suggest, is not only possible but also necessary for revealing the inner meaning of the theory's scientific content. It is pointed out, however, that a viable realist interpretation of quantum theory requires the abandonment or radical revision of the classical conception of physical reality and its traditional metaphysical presuppositions. To this end, we put forward an alternative to traditional realism interpretative scheme, that is in harmony with the findings of present-day quantum theory, and which, if adequately introduced into the instructional process of contemporary physics, is expected to promote the conceptual reconstruction of learners towards an appropriate view of nature.
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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