Dear Prof Ernst von Glasersfeld,
I have been enjoying many articles of yours for a few years now.
For some time I thought I was a radical constructivist because
so many of the ideas of yours that I read were in me already.
However, a single problem has arisen repeatedly and at this
point RC seems to be inviable to my reasoning.
The recurring problem is that I can no more know that I have
constructed my experiences than I can know that my experiences
have arisen from a world which exists apart from me. Thus I
understand the process of construction like I understand
reality. As you have taught me, I cannot compare my idea of
reality beyond my self with that reality; and likewise I cannot
compare my idea of a process of constructing with the process
itself. It is akin to Bateson's assertion that a TV could not
display its own hardware without still more hardware.
Is this reconcilable? If an agnostic philosophy does not commit
to a metaphysic of "what is," should it not also avoid comitting
to "what happens?"
- ANSWER 1:
- Dear Mr. Kranz--McGuire,
Let me tell you: I consider your question a sort of jewel.
It has never been asked but is, from my point of view, the
basic one, if you still want to hold on to an ontology - a
very understandable desire, given that our languages
constantly foster such an assumption .
As I read your question, the statements "compare my idea
of a process of constructing with the process itself" and
"comitting to 'what
happens' " presuppose that processes and happenings
"exist" in an ontic domain apart from their occurring. As
a constructivist, I cannot say anything about such a
I have stated several times that RC is based on three
unexplained assumptions : memory, primitive values, and
consciousness. You are suggesting that what consciousness
makes us aware of has a life of its own, an "existence"
beyond our experience. This suggestion is incompatible
If this answer does not satisfy you, we can continue the
Ernst von Glasersfeld
PS: So that others may follow this exchange, I am
attaching your question.