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Science & Education

, Volume 6, Issue 1–2, pp 15–28 | Cite as

Epistemological Anarchy and the Many Forms of Constructivism

  • David R. Geelan
Article

Abstract

Constructivism has become an important referent for research and practice in science education. A variety of more or less divergent forms of constructivism have developed: discussion between these is occasionally heated. Six such forms are briefly described in order to provide an overview of the field of constructivist theory. A scheme for characterising constructivist writing on the basis of its relative emphasis on (a) personal versus social construction of knowledge and (b) objectivist versus relativist views of the nature of science is suggested. Issues of theory creation and reflexivity, central to constructivist practice, are discussed. It is suggested that debate about the "best" form of constructivism is counterproductive. A more powerful approach to epistemology is that described by Feyerabend, the holding in dialectical tension of a variety of incompatible perspectives:

The following essay is written in the conviction that anarchism, while perhaps not the most attractive political philosophy, is certainly excellent medicine for epistemology, and for the philosophy of science (Feyerabend, 1975, 17, italics in original).

Keywords

Science Education Political Philosophy Social Construction Powerful Approach Constructivist Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Geelan
    • 1
  1. 1.Science and Mathematics Education CentreCurtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia

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