Thursday, 2 December 2010

David K. Johnson - Sleepysand in the Mind’s Eye

The newest critique to Radical Constructivism (RC), an article by David K. Johnson titled "Footprints in the Sand" in Constructivist Foundations 6 (1),  does in no way contribute to understand the weaknesses of Radical Constructivism, it is merely sleepysand in the mind's eye:
At the basis of the obfuscation and jungle of misunderstandings contained in David K. Johnson's article lies the fundamental confusion:
  • "a THING, in contrast to our thoughts of that THING, surely does exist outside of thought"
This is well exemplified in a statement found in the new book by David K. Johnson & Matthew Silliman (2009:8):
  • "But rocks, in contrast to our thoughts of rocks, surely do exist outside of thought, a fact that alone explains Alison’s stumbling on this rock along a road in Vermont without first thinking it into existence." From: Johnson D. K. & Silliman M. R. (2009) Bridges to the world. Sense, Rotterdam, page 8.
From David K. Johnson's article we can learn three lessons:
  1. The fundamental emotion of Johnson's critique “is powered by the authority of universally valid knowledge” (Maturana & Poerksen 2004:41-42) and the basis of its explanations is the reference to objects in the external reality.
  2. This kind of criticism to RC originates from an unaware confusion between what belongs to RC and what belongs to Realism.
  3. A blind spot makes that critics do not understand how to deal with things in themselves and as a consequence easily overlook the intimate relationship between the two sides of the radical constructivist coin: construction & viability.

Maturana, H. R. & Pörksen, B. (2004) From Being to Doing – The Origins of the Biology of Cognition.
Carl-Auer-Systeme: Heidelberg.

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