Constructivism Contested: Implications of a Genetic Perspective in Psychology
- 541 Downloads
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.
KeywordsConstructivism Genetic logic Generativity Expressivism Enactivism
- Baerveldt, C., & Verheggen, T. (2012). Enactivism. In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Oxford handbook of culture and psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Baldwin, J. M. (1906). Mental development in the child and the race. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Baldwin, J. M. (1915). Genetic theory of reality. New York: Putnam.Google Scholar
- Bergson, H. (1922). Creative evolution. (trans: A. Mitchell). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Berlin, I. (1977). Vico and Herder: Two studies in the history of ideas. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
- Blunden, A. (2007). Hegel, recognition and intersubjectivity. Retrieved January 2011, from the World Wide Web: http://home.mira.net/~andy/works/on-hegel.htm.
- Broughton, J. M. (1981). The genetic psychology of James Mark Baldwin. American Psychologist, 36, 396–407.Google Scholar
- Edwards, D. (1997). Discourse and cognition. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Maturana, H. R. (1978a). Cognition. In P. M. Hejl, W. K. Köck, & G. Roth (Eds.), Wahrnehmung und Kommunikation (pp. 29–49). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Maturana, H. R. (1978b). Biology of language: The epistemology of reality. In G. Miller & E. Lenneberg (Eds.), Psychology and biology of language and thought: Essays in honor of Eric Lenneberg (pp. 27–63). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
- Maturana, H. R. (1988). Ontology of observing: The biological foundations of self, consciousness and the physical domain of existence. In: R. Donaldson (Ed.), Texts in cybernetic theory: An in-depth exploration of the thought of Humberto Maturana, William T. Powers, and Ernst von Glasersfeld. Felton, CA: American Society for Cybernetics [conference workbook]. Retrieved online from Alfredo Ruiz (Ed.), at: http://www.inteco.cl/biology/ontology/index.htm.
- Maturana, H. R. (1997). Metadesign. Santiago de Chili: Instituto de Terapia Cognitiva INTECO. Retrieved January, 2010, from the World Wide Web: http://www.inteco.cl. A version of this text has been published as Maturana, H. R. (1997). “Metadesign”, In J. Brouwer and C. Hoekendijk (Eds.), Technomorphica. Rotterdam, Netherlands: V2_Organisatie.
- Merleau-Ponty, M. (1964). Signs. (trans: R. C. McCleary). Evanston Ill: Northwestern University Press. (Original work published 1960).Google Scholar
- Newman, F., & Holzman, L. (1993). Lev Vygotsky: Revolutionary scientist. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Piaget, J. (1980). Les formes élémentaires de la dialectique [Elementary forms of dialectic]. Paris: Editions Gallimard.Google Scholar
- Potter, J., & Whetherell, M. (1987). Discourse and social psychology. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Proulx, J. (2008). Some differences between Maturana and Varela’s theory of cognition and constructivism. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 5, 11–26.Google Scholar
- Shotter, J. (1993). Conversational realities: Constructing life through language. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Strauss, C. (1992). Models and motives. In R. D’Andrade & C. Strauss (Eds.), Human motives and cultural models (pp. 1–20). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Taylor, C. (1985). The concept of a person. In Philosophical papers: Vol. 1. Human agency and language (pp. 97–114). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Taylor, C. (1989). Sources of the self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Valsiner, J. (1989). Human development and culture: The social nature of personality and its study. Massachusetts/Toronto: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
- von Glasersfeld, E. (2007). Aspects of constructivism: Vico, Berkeley, Piaget. In E. von Glasersfeld (Ed.), Key works in radical constructivism (pp. 91–99). Sense: Rotterdam.Google Scholar