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  1. Ernst von Glasersfeld, Distinguishing the Observer: An Attempt at Interpreting Maturana.
    "Languaging", as Maturana occasionally explains, serves, among other things, to orient. By this he means directing the attention and, consequently, the individual experience of others, which is a way to foster the development of "consensual domains" which, in turn, are the prerequisite for the development of language. - Although the sentence (you might say, the languaging) with which I have here begun is at best a pale imitation of Maturana's style, it does perhaps represent one important aspect of Maturana's system: (...)
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  2. Ernst von Glasersfeld & Edith Ackermann (2011). Reflections on the Concept of Experience and the Role of Consciousness. Unfinished Fragments. Constructivist Foundations 6 (2):193-203.
    Context: The idea to write this paper sprang up in a casual conversation that led to the question of how the word “experience” would be translated into German. Distinctions between the German “Erleben” and “Erfahren,” and their intricacies with “Erkennen” and “Anerkennen,” soon led to the conviction that this was a thread worth pursuing. Problem: Much has been written about the nature of experience, but there is little consensus, to this day, regarding the role of consciousness in the process of (...)
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  3. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2010). Why People Dislike Radical Constructivism. Constructivist Foundations 6 (1):19-21.
    Problem: Radical constructivism, although having a very successful base in research on mathematics and science education, has not become a generally accepted theory of knowledge. Purpose: This paper discusses possible sources of aversion. Results: The first section makes explicit the unavoidability of accepting the responsibility for one’s thinking and acting, a responsibility that under stressful circumstances one would rather avoid. Another section suggests the origin of the human quest for certain knowledge. The third section introduces the notion of “stickiness of (...)
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  4. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2009). Relativism, Fascism, and the Question of Ethics in Constructivism. Constructivist Foundations 4 (3):117-120.
    Purpose: Radical constructivism holds that experiential reality is created by each individual. As a way of thinking, it unquestionably belongs to the theories of knowledge that are called “subjectivist” and “relativist”. This paper deals with the Italian philosopher Adriano Tilgher’s analysis of the relation between relativism and fascism and examines the possible impact of this connection on constructivism and its view of ethics. Approach: Conceptual analysis and the demonstration of a contradiction in Tilgher’s argumentation. Findings: A review of the ethics (...)
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  5. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2009). Sketches From Partial Memories. Constructivist Foundations 5 (1):55 - 63.
    Purpose: In the forthcoming book Partial Memories, Ernst von Glasersfeld presents a chronological patchwork of autobiographical memories. Constructivist Foundations selected six of the 92 sketches to provide a preview of this book. Content: The selected sketches cover the 1930s, when von Glasersfeld became interested in epistemology, and the 1970s, when he found experimental and argumentative support for his radical constructivism. Implications: The colorful life of von Glasersfeld gives an impression of how many turns it has taken him to construct his (...)
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  6. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2008). Can Dichotomies Be Tamed? Constructivist Foundations 3 (3):123-126.
    Purpose: The notion of dichotomy is central to Josef Mitterer’s work and he uses the term as a portmanteau. My paper characterizes the specific dichotomies he describes, uses C. K. Ogden’s work on “Opposition” to classify them, and reviews attempts to overcome incompatible oppositions in other disciplines. Approach: Conceptual analysis in an attempt to show some of the conceptual differences in the various types of opposition. A “sampler” indicates possible divisions. Findings: From the constructivist point of view, the notion of (...)
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  7. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2008). Treacherous Terms. Constructivist Foundations 4 (1):16-17.
    Open peer commentary on the target article “How and Why the Brain Lays the Foundations for a Conscious Self” by Martin V. Butz. Excerpt: I feel that the use of terms such as “code,” “information,” and “symbol” for neural constellations that are not further described defeats the intention of the analysis presented because unless these terms are explicitly given specific neurobiological definitions they inevitably suggest the presence of a consciously reflecting agent.
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  8. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2008). Who Conceives of Society? Constructivist Foundations 3 (2):59-104.
    Problem: How can constructivists speak of social interaction or communication with others, when, as they claim, their experiential world is their own construction? This question is frequently asked and is perfectly reasonable. The present paper is intended as an answer. Solution: After providing an outline of the constructivist approach to perception and the generation of recognizable objects in the experiential field, I argue that “others,” too, can be explained as an individual’s creation; a creation, however, that is just as constrained (...)
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  9. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2007). A Constructivist Speculation About Parmenides. Constructivist Foundations 3 (1):27-29.
    Purpose: An attempt to interpret the fragments of Parmenides as a first suggestion of a constructivist epistemology. Today, two and a half millennia later, no one can be sure of what exactly Parmenides had in mind. Method: Reviewing the varying translations of acknowledged experts and paying attention to what Plato said in his Parmenides dialog. Findings: We cannot be certain of any interpretation, but an epistemologically unbiased review of the translations shows that Parmenides may well have believed that experience is (...)
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  10. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2007). Some Rash Conclusions. Constructivist Foundations 3 (1):7-8.
    Open peer commentary on the target article “Arguments Opposing the Radicalism of Radical Constructivism” by Gernot Saalmann. First paragraph: Gernot Saalmann freely admits that what he presents “as ‘radical constructivism’ is necessarily simplified and distorted, as there are considerable differences amongst the authors, who, in addition, have changed their opinions in the course of time.” (§3). This is an ominous opening. Conflating the critique of the different views of individual constructivists makes it difficult for individuals to respond. Given that Saalmann (...)
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  11. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2007). Some Rash Conclusions. Commentary on the Target Artcle by Gernot Saalmann. Constructivist Foundations 3 (1):7-8.
    Open peer commentary on the target article “Arguments Opposing the Radicalism of Radical Constructivism” by Gernot Saalmann. First paragraph: Gernot Saalmann freely admits that what he presents “as ‘radical constructivism’ is necessarily simplified and distorted, as there are considerable differences amongst the authors, who, in addition, have changed their opinions in the course of time.” (§3). This is an ominous opening. Conflating the critique of the different views of individual constructivists makes it difficult for individuals to respond. Given that Saalmann (...)
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  12. Ernst von Glasersfeld, Ranulph Glanville & Alexander Riegler (eds.) (2007). The Importance of Being Ernst: Festschrift for Ernst von Glasersfeld. Edition Echoraum.
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  13. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2006). A Constructivist Approach to Experiential Foundations of Mathematical Concepts Revisited. Constructivist Foundations 1 (2):61-72.
    Purpose: The paper contributes to the naturalization of epistemology. It suggests tentative itineraries for the progression from elementary experiential situations to the abstraction of the concepts of unit, plurality, number, point, line, and plane. It also provides a discussion of the question of certainty in logical deduction and arithmetic. Approach: Whitehead’s description of three processes involved in criticizing mathematical thinking (1956) is used to show discrepancies between a traditional epistemological stance and the constructivist approach to knowing and communication. Practical implications: (...)
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  14. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2006). Review of: Holger Lindemann (2005) Konstruktivismus und Pädagogik. Grundlagen, Modelle, Wege zur Praxis. Ernst Reinhardt Verlag: Munich, Basel. [REVIEW] Constructivist Foundations 1 (3):131.
    Summary: This book is the first serious attempt to compare the major trends of this school of thought and to discuss their similarities and differences from a non-belligerent position… Lindemann’s book is a competent and very valuable introduction to the ideas of constructivism and their application to pedagogy.
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  15. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2006). You Have to Be Two to Start: Rational Thoughts About Love. Constructivist Foundations 2 (1):1-5.
    Excerpt: Love – as Ovid pointed out long ago – is an art. It has to be constantly created and requires persistent vigilance, care, and thoughtfulness. This is very clear from a constructivist point of view. The partner is always what we experience of him or her. We have abstracted him or her from our own experiences and therefore he or she is our construction and not, for example, a thing in itself which exists independently from us. And it is (...)
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  16. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2005). Thirty Years Constructivism. Constructivist Foundations 1 (1):9-12.
    Excerpt: In 1974… I wrote a chapter assembling some philosophical precedents and presenting my interpretation of Piaget’s theory. It was the first time the epithet “radical” was used. It was intended in the sense that William James had used in his radical empiricism, i.e., meaning “going to the roots” or “uncompromising”. I chose it because at the time many developmental psychologists were mentioning Piaget’s constructivism but without going into its epistemological implications. What they called construction seemed to refer to the (...)
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  17. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2001). The Enigma of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (4):79-81.
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  18. Ernst von Glasersfeld (2001). The Radical Constructivist View of Science. Foundations of Science 6 (1-3):31-43.
    From the constructivist perspective, science cannot transcend thedomain of experience. Scientific theories are seen as models that helpto order and manage that domain. As the experiential field expands,models are replaced by others based on novel conceptual constructs. Thepaper suggests the substitution of viability or functional fit forthe notions of Truth and objective representation of anexperiencer-independent reality. This by-passes the sceptics'incontrovertible arguments against certain real-world knowledge andproposes the Piagetian conception of cognition as the function thatgenerates ways and means for dealing with (...)
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  19. Ernst von Glasersfeld (1998). The Incommensurability of Scientific and Poetic Knowledge. World Futures 53 (1):19-25.
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  20. Ernst von Glasersfeld (1995). Radical Constructivism: A Way of Knowing and Learning. Falmer Press.
    Chapter Growing up Constructivist: Languages and Thoughtful People What is radical constructivism? It is an unconventional approach to the problems of ...
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  21. Ernst von Glasersfeld (1990). Teleology and the Concepts of Causation. Philosophica 46.
  22. Ernst von Glasersfeld (1989). Cognition, Construction of Knowledge, and Teaching. Synthese 80 (1):121 - 140.
    The existence of objective knowledge and the possibility of communicating it by means of language have traditionally been taken for granted by educators. Recent developments in the philosophy of science and the historical study of scientific accomplishments have deprived these presuppositions of their former plausibility. Sooner or later, this must have an effect on the teaching of science. In this paper I am presenting a brief outline of an alternative theory of knowing that takes into account the thinking organism's cognitive (...)
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  23. Ernst von Glasersfeld (1988). Difficulties of Demonstrating the Possession of Concepts. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (4):601.
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  24. Ernst von Glasersfeld (1978). Another Minor Revision, or the Disregard for Control Theory and the Analysis of Inductive Feedback Systems. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (1):79.
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  25. Ernst von Glasersfeld (1978). Some Problems of Intentionality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (2):252.
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  26. Ernst von Glasersfeld (1974). Because and the Concepts of Causation. Semiotica 12 (2).
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