Posts tagged ‘constructivism’

History of history

July 23rd, 2009

The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.

(This quote and variations of it can be found easily.) Considering the fact that each and everyone seems to stumble over this insight sooner or later it could well be based on a wee bit of eternal truth. However, if it is, it is hiding it very well. Indeed, what it shows is that history of history is unknown. Speaking of learning, it is not taught either.


Not speaking of myself

January 25th, 2007

Ratta is not speaking of herself

[Ratta says she is not speaking of herself.]


January 24th, 2007

Constructivism is easy to explain: Don’t!1


The basic assumption (or condition) is that there is you. From this it follows that there’s something which — or somebody who — is not you.2

Getting to know what is not youCorollary

In order to know you need to know about what is not you. Thus, whatever you want to know about what is not you needs to find some way into you.

The English language has a huge number of terms for these “ways”: Learn, observe, perceive, watch, hear, realize, comprehend, get, … you name it. Their essential aspect is that something is happening (on the way). Let’s call this the “process of perception” (but you may call it whatever you prefer).

That’s it.

In other words, constructivism acknowledges that — if you assume that there is you and something or somebody who is not you — there is something in between. For instance, a medium (that needs to be passed), some time (that goes by), an act of observation, sensory receptions, a recognition, maybe a translation, a calculation, or a memorization, and probably some thinking. Or else, you wouldn’t be able to know about what is not you.

The visual system (like of human beings), as well as any other sensory system, or a close look into a human eye illustrates the multitude of processes which is involved with the “process of perception”.

Varieties of constructivism

The specifics of the “process of perception” are interpreted and described in varying ways by the many facets of constructivism. Also, some forms of constructivism confine their theories to less general distinctions of you versus what is not you (e.g. social constructivism examines mostly social relations like you and a friend, groups of people, or societies, and how those perceive each other and everything else).

[Radical constructivism] starts from the assumption that knowledge (…) is in the heads of persons, and that the thinking subject has no alternative but to construct what he or she knows on the basis of his or her own experience.
Ernst von Glasersfeld3


Constructivism offers ways of perceiving perception.
If you prefer other perceptions of constructivism, welcome aboard.


1) The presented text is no explanation apart from the fact that you might view it as a plain representation flattened out on a computer screen or paper.
2) If for whatever reason you cannot agree here, either because you think there is only you, or because you think nothing exists independently of you, then you can stop reading since you are already thinking in a most constructivistic manner.
3) Ernst von Glasersfeld: Radical Constructivism. A Way of Knowing and Learning. London: Falmer Press 1995. Page 1.

A “funny game of constructivism”

January 20th, 2007

Andreas Zeuch referred to rattus rattus’ blog as a “funny game of constructivism”, though up until this very entry neither the word constructivism nor construct appeared anywhere in this blog (except for 2 obscure references of construction).

Curiously enough, this is some hint if you consider the fact that many people who by others are referred to as being constructivists never did so themselves. This applies to me as well as to this blog. I shall always happily refer to myself as a liar.

Then again, I do not know what Zeuch means by constructivism. In fact, I cannot know what goes on in Zeuch’s head at all, can I? Heck, I have no idea of what goes on in my own head. Does Zeuch? — Anyway, this not-knowing is part of (radical) constructivism according to Ernst von Glasersfeld who should know (1).

Even if I wanted to avoid using the label constructivism I would have a hard time letting you know. Though, if there is constructivism then it doesn’t matter anyhow. Or so, many think (as if it does matter if it doesn’t).

So, what is constructivism? — It’s a lie! Constructivism is the lie that makes understanding feasible. And because of this, I shall happily explain to you constructivism. Watch out!


1) Ernst von Glasersfeld: “We Can Never Know What Goes On In Somebody Else’s Head”: Ernst Von Glasersfeld On Truth And Viability, Language And Knowledge, And The Premises Of Constructivist Education; An interview conducted by B. Pörksen. Cybernetics and Systems 35 (2004) 4: 379-398.

We cannot but accept our lying

January 18th, 2007

Ratta cannot but accept her lying

[Ratta, too, couldn’t but accept her lying.]