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[Channel-talkcivics] Constructivism and Metaphysics

From: T.Frieze <tfrieze@cyberport.net>
Date: Sat Jun 17 2006 - 12:05:20 EDT
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I read with interest the article From Behaviorist to Constructivist Teaching
by Geoffrey Scheurman. This and Megan Pepe’s post to the listserve inspired
me to do further research. Elizabeth Murphy’s article Constructivism: From
Philosophy to Practice (http://www.cdli.ca/~elmurphy/emurphy/cle.html) was
especially helpful. Something I realized is that the underlying philosophy
is not just an epistemology, but implies a metaphysic as well. Oddly,
Murphy uses Socrates to introduce her paper. In fact, the Socratic method
seems to a key to all constructivist educational practices. This is
noteworthy because (As Murphy acknowledges) Socrates was no constructivist.
Far from it. In contrast to radical constructivists at least, he held
doggedly to an objective reality that could be truly known through
observation and reasoning. Indeed, while constructivism as such may not
have been articulated in ancient Greece, the sophists held rather similar
ideas in regard to the nature of knowledge and truth. Socrates went to
great pains to distinguish himself from these purveyors of relative truths.
I wonder to what extent constructivist learning techniques imply a similar
relativism, and further, to what extent such an implicit relativism might be
tacitly communicated to students. Could we be teaching a certain brand of
metaphysics under the guise of social studies?

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Received on Mon Jun 19 09:11:10 2006

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