Question 1 -
Dear Mr. von
I'm a student of
Journalism (2nd semester) and are writing an essay on
Constructivism in the Media. During the research for this work
I came upon a question that, until now, nobody has been able
This is why I take the opportunity to address you as
estimated and often cited coryphée in the field of
Why the German language makes a difference between "Realität"
and "Wirklichkeit", whereas the English language
only has "reality"?
What is the significance for each culture and mentality?
Herr von Glasersfeld,
ich bin eine
Bremer Journalistikstudentin im 2. Semester und schreibe
momentan an einer Hausarbeit zum Konstruktivismus in den
Nun bin ich während meiner Recherche auf eine Frage
gestoßen, die zu beantworten bislang niemand
Also ergreife ich die Gelegenheit und wende mich an Sie
als geschätzte und vielzitierte Koryphäe auf
Wieso macht die deutsche Sprache einen Unterschied
zwischen "Realität" und "Wirklichkeit",
während sich die englische wiederum auf
Was bedeutet das für die jeweilige Kultur und Mentalität?
I am answering in
English because that is the language we use on this website.
to the one you are asking, I have put innumerable times to
anthropologists and linguists, but the most they would say was
that it was a matter of
cultural differences. Which, of course, explains nothing.
The reason for their
reluctance to entertain such questions (in my opinion) is
that for a long time it was taboo to think or speak about
Even the non-behaviorists were much afraid to do so.
To aswer your
question one would have to invvestigate the particular way in which
the given language group abstracted certain concepts from
their actual experience.
And since it is impossible to reconstruct the experience of
the people who first
developed the German or English language, we cannot say why the
protoGerman speakers abstracted the concept of a world
generated by their own
"wirken", which would, indeed, be a constructivist
A similar question
has always bothered me: why do German and French have no word
for "mind", whereas English and Italian have?
Ernst von Glasersfeld
Dear professor Von
are being raised against Piaget's understanding of mathematical
Freudenthal in his "Mathematics as an educational
p662-677), states that Piaget had inadequate mathematical
ideas, used suggestive
experimental designs and therefore Piaget's implications for didactics
are a mistake (allthough his work, says Freudenthal, is probably
not influenced by these
misconceptions in a decisive way).> >
How do you
evaluate these objections?
Rob Kooijman (The
Dear Mr. Kooijman,
For a radical
constructivist there is no such thing as a "right"
theory, explanation, or picture of the world. There are things
that work and things that
don't work under the given circumstances.
Piaget's notion that
numbers are constructed on the basis of the child's own
actions was distasteful to Freudenthal; he wanted them to be
has, however, led to many useful ideas in the realm of learning
theory and educators' attitudes - and that is what counts in
the end. I only had one
interaction with Freudenthal and he quickly made it clear
that he did not like anything about Piaget's constructivism
and consequently even less
my radical form of it.