| Von Glasersfeld's answers - October II 2005  |


Question :

Dear Dr. von Glasersfeld,
This past week I was at a Conference on Mathematics Education and a
speaker attributed a particular position to you about the idea of
metacognition. I have read many of your papers but cannot ever recall
you addressing metacognition indeed, as a radical constructivist, I
would expect that your position would be to challenge the traditional
view of metacognition and argue that what others refer to as
metacognitve, can be explained in terms of reflection on results of
cognitive activity.
Have you discussed the term metacognition in any of your wirtings ? If
you have, please provide the source.
Thank you for your time.
Vic Cifarelli
Dept. of Mathematics
UNC Charlotte


Answer :

Dear Mr. Cifarelli,
You are quite right: what people call "metacognition" are the products of
reflection on prior constructions. The term was created because
traditional psychologists wanted to get away from the notion of
reflection because it pointed towards Piaget. But - and this has to be
remembered - speaking of "reflection" does not explain much. It serves as
a theoretically useful link (not unlike gravitation in physics) for
something to which we can ascribe effects without having a model of how
it works; in this case, consciousness.
Best wishes,
Ernst von Glasersfeld





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