What is Radical Constructivism and Who Are Its Proponents?



von Glaserfeld – An Introduction to Radical Constructivism

In: Watzlawick, P. (ed.) (1984) The invented reality. New York: Norton,
pp. 17–40.

English translation of: Glasersfeld, E. (1981) Einführung in
den Radikalen Konstruktivismus. In: Watzlawick, P. (ed.) Die Erfundene
Wirklichkeit, Munich: Piper, pp. 16–38.

http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/070.1 (pdf)


also: http://vonglasersfeld.com/



What is Radical Constructivism
and Who Are Its Proponents?
The notion “radical constructivism” (RC) was coined by Ernst von Glasersfeld in 1974 in order to emphasize that from an epistemological perspective any constructivism has to be complete (or “radical”) in order not to relapse into some kind of fancy realism. The basic tenet of RC is that any kind of knowledge is constructed rather than perceived through senses. As such, RC does not present a metaphysics in the strict sense as it does not make statements about an outside reality (“No statement” means neither confirming nor denying reality. The subject of much criticism, RC equals solipsism, doesn’t therefore apply). Now, the idea itself does not originate in EvG. Forerunners of the RC movement in the 18th century were Giambatista Vico, whose dictum “verum ipsum factum” already pointed in the direction of knowledge construction, and George Berkeley whose claim “esse est percipi” challenged metaphysics.

On a slightly different path, the cybernetic one, Heinz von Foerster approached the topic of what was called second order cybernetics. It focuses on self-referential systems and the importance of eigenbehaviors for the explanation of complex phenomena. Eventually, this idea would emerge the concept of “operational closure”: any cognitive system is semantically independent (and impenetrable). From the late 50s to the mid 70s, HvF had been running the Biological Computer Laboratory (BCL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign which was a dwell of people thinking in similar lines. Among others, prominent members of the BCL were

Humberto Maturana who, as the founder of the theory of autopoiesis, focuses on the central role of the observer;
Francisco Varela who developed the ideas of circularity and ‘enacted’ cognition further;
W. Ross Ashby who was a main figure in the cybernetics movement;
Gordon Pask who developed a conversation theory.
In Germany, an avalanche was triggered in the late 80s by translations of major works by the above authors, plus original contributions in German, such as Siegfried J. Schmidt, Hans-Rudi Fischer, Gerhard Roth, Gebhard Rusch, and others. Also of German origin, but independent from the others, was Jakob von Uexküll, whose work in the 1920s and 1930s focused on the internal cognitive world of organisms.

Autopoiesis: A process whereby a system constitutes and maintains its own organization

Cybernetics: The science of communication and control in animal and machine

Eigenbehavior: The behavior through which a system asserts its autonomy from other systems

Epistemology: The theory of knowledge

Metaphysics: The theory of reality

Realism: The idea that reality exists independently from the observer

Second order Cybernetics: The cybernetics of observing systems

Solipsism: The claim that reality does not exist

Created: June 2000. Last update: 26 Mar 2004
© Copyright by Alex Riegler 2000. All rights reserved. Part of the Radical Constructivist Homepage.
This material may be freely linked to by any other electronic text. Commercial use and any other copying are prohibited without the express written permission of the copyright holder.

via What is Radical Constructivism and Who Are Its Proponents?

ᏟᎬᏢᎪ Constructivist E-Paper Archive, the Radical Constructivism site, and Constructivist Foundations journal


Wow. There is a lot of stuff here.

And links to both the original Radical Constructivism site (last updated 2017) – https://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/

And the ongoing journal Constructivist Foundations https://constructivist.info/


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Call for papers – Moral communication. Observed with social systems theory, Luhmann Conference 2020, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 15-18 September 2020

Call for papers to the Luhmann Conference 2020 on “Moral communication. Observed with social systems theory”

Place: Inter-University Centre (IUC), Dubrovnik, Croatia
Address: Don Frana Bulicá 4, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dates: 15-18 September 2020

The PDF version of this CFP is available for download here.

Theme: The conference committee invites contributions on the significance of moral communication in Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory. As readers familiar with his work will recognise, Luhmann’s approach to morality is characterised by a profound moral scepticism and a certain neglect of moral communication not only as an occasional topic, but also as a distinct form of communication. As contemporary society is continuously producing moral communication, however, social systems theory is bound to adequately deal with this phenomenon if its claim to a universal theory is to be maintained. We therefore welcome contributions from scholars with an interest in moral communication at all levels of society.

more in source: CFP | Moral communication. Observed with social systems theory | Dr. Steffen Roth

9th World Complexity Science Academy Worldwide conference, Ischia, Italy, 23-25 March 2020

9th World Complexity Science Academy Worldwide conference, Ischia, Italy, 23-25 March 2020

GEGNET: A Complex System Vision on Global Governance and Policy Modelling

Gegnet is a German theoretical concept meaning limitless opening to the possible.

The current global economic context of worldwide business and direct foreign investment is comprised of a decreasing number of huge players named Global Players (GP), such as the European Union (EU), the United States (US), the MERCOSUR, the United African Market, along with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). It radically redesigns the public policies and their scale about digitalization, intangible asset portfolio creation (e.g. patents, trademarks, licenses, copyrights), taxation, public expenditures, international trade regulations and much more.

This network of treaties wrapping up our planet is shaping a spiral convergent trend, pushing forward the shift from international to supranational lawmaking through the setting up of a transnational agenda for global governance and policy modelling.

The key evolutionary challenge and paramount goal of the 9th WCSA Worldwide Conference is to be the host for innovative lawmaking / policy modelling, legislative implementation, institutional redesign, and economic development also by citizenship expansion. We will be working on shaping a triple helix of (1) legislative design, (2) free-trade alignment, and (3) digital standardization.

via Events – WCSA

Review of Daniel Belgrad, ‘The Culture of Feedback: Ecological Thinking in ’70s America’ – Scott McLemee

Source: Review of Daniel Belgrad, ‘The Culture of Feedback: Ecological Thinking in ’70s America’

Mind in Matter
Scott McLemee reviews Daniel Belgrad’s The Culture of Feedback: Ecological Thinking in ’70s America.

By Scott McLemee
January 17, 2020

Somewhere on its way to entering the vernacular, the word cybernetics took on connotations of high technology, with tremendous computational power almost as a given. But the quintessential cybernetic system is humble, indeed, and very much simpler than any computer. It is the thermostat.

Just to be clear, the “cybernetic system” in this case consists of not just the device on the wall with its dials or buttons, but also a temperature sensor as well as whatever apparatus heats or cools the room. When the sensor registers that the room’s temperature has fallen below, say, 70 degrees (to use a season-appropriate example of a likely setting), the thermostat translates that information into a command to turn the heat on, then off again, once the sensor reports that the target temperature has been reached. Framing this a little more abstractly, we have here a system engaged in posing a question to its environment, generating a binary (yes/no) answer and then, as necessary, taking action to cause change in a certain determinate direction.

Not much computational power is required. Then again, “cybernetics” derives from an ancient Greek word referring to the pilot of a ship. Navigation, not calculation, is at its root.

To the best of my recollection, I first came across the thermostat as quintessential example of a closed feedback system in a wildly interdisciplinary volume by Anthony Wilden called System and Structure: Essays in Communication and Exchange (1980). Wilden in turn adopted it from Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972), an even more category-defying volume. Besides the anthropological fieldwork he had carried out (some of it carried on with Margaret Mead, his wife for a time) Bateson pulled together his research into schizophrenia, evolutionary theory and biological symmetry — besides which he had participated in the Macy Conferences on Cybernetics held between 1946 and 1953. Among the papers in Steps to an Ecology of Mind is Bateson’s analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous as a cybernetic system — one more adaptive and functional than the alcoholic’s personality, which otherwise remains trapped in a short-circuiting feedback loop of trying to establish its own power over the bottle.

Through Batesonian lenses, the world looked like one huge array of self-regulating systems. Some were at cross purposes (imagine two thermostats in the same room, at different settings) and some just did not work very well.

“An entirely new epistemology must come out of cybernetics and systems theory,” wrote Bateson in the alcoholism study. It would require “a new understanding of mind, self, human relationship and power.” Daniel Belgrad’s The Culture of Feedback: Ecological Thinking in ’70s America (University of Chicago Press) finds much the same set of priorities reflected in the work of artists, musicians, activists, film directors and the makers of public service announcements that ran on TV.

Continues in source: Review of Daniel Belgrad, ‘The Culture of Feedback: Ecological Thinking in ’70s America’

Living systems theory and the practice of stewarding change (pdf) – Michelle Holliday and Michael Jones, June 2015


Considering the Individual -Environment Fit at the Core of Physical Literacy. | footblogball

So much good systems thinking in this discussion of physical literacy!

source Part 2: Considering the Individual -Environment Fit at the Core of Physical Literacy.  | footblogball

Part 2: Considering the Individual -Environment Fit at the Core of Physical Literacy.
January 20, 2020 footblogball-Mark O Sullivan Uncategorized
In part 2 of this blog, I will introduce a conceptual realignment of physical literacy that is different from the ‘business-as-usual’ concepts (see part 1), that seemingly underpin the construct in both policy and practice and even as a finally packaged product.

“Skillful interactions” refers to how a mover coordinates his/her behaviour within the performance context in relation to that environment, on the basis of not only the immediate physical and informational (i.e., situational) demands, but also on the basis of historical and cultural factors. Thus, following from Newell (1986), skillful interactions are sufficiently optimal solutions to the movement problem faced in terms of safety, efficiency and/or effectiveness for that individual at that moment in time – Phil Kierney (Footblogball,May 2018).

Such an emphasis shifts the narrative away from fundamental to functional, towards developing an adaptive ‘interactor’; considering the individual-environment fit.


Current literature contains different representations of the concept of physical literacy (Edwards et al., 2016). Due to lacking a clear theoretical foundation, it can be argued that the construct has progressively evolved into something it originally was not (Young, O’Connor and Alfrey, 2019).This adaption of numerous definitions and interpretations across different countries, disciplines and organisation (Shearer et al., 2018), has arguably led to a lack of consensus as to how to employ it in practice (Hyndman & Pill, 2018; Jurbala, 2015).

This vagueness associated with the construct reveals aneed for a comprehensive theoretical rationale to underpin how to apply the concepts and ideas from physical literacy research. One such framework that can support the physical literacy journey is the theoretical framework of ecological dynamics. It has been previously argued by Roberts, Newcombe and Davids (2018) that ecological dynamics can inform how we can evolve the concept of physical literacy, both in policy and physical education curriculum, away from the dominant traditional approaches. I argue, from this perspective, the concept of physical literacy can be enriched and extended within and beyond organised sports and physical education, through the reconceptualisation of the nature of an individual’s relationship with the specific environments they interact with over a lifespan. The establishment of an individual -environment fit across varied movement contexts over a lifespan, should therefore be a central tenet of the concept of physical literacy.

continues in source: Part 2: Considering the Individual -Environment Fit at the Core of Physical Literacy.  | footblogball