, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 156-166
Date: 16 Nov 2012

Constructivism Contested: Implications of a Genetic Perspective in Psychology

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Constructivism is an approach to knowledge and learning that focuses on the active role of knowers. Sanchez and Loredo (Integrative Psychological & Behavioral Science 43:332–349, 2009) propose a classification of constructivist thinkers and address what they perceive to be internal problems of present-day constructivism. The remedy they propose is a return to the genetic constructivism of James Mark Baldwin, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. In this article we first raise the question of whether thinkers like Baldwin, Vygotsky, Maturana and Varela are adequately depicted as constructivists, and subsequently argue that constructivism is caught in an overly epistemic version of the subject/object dichotomy. We then introduce a genetic logic that is not based on the Hegelian dialectics of negation and mediation, but rather on the idea of the recursive consensual coordination of actions that give rise to stylized cultural practices. We argue that a genuinely genetic and generative psychology should be concerned with the multifarious and ever-changing nature of human ‘life’ and not merely with the construction of knowledge about life.

Research for this paper was made possible by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC 410-2009-0891)