| Von Glasersfeld's answers - October 2009 |

 
 
 


QUESTION 1:
Dear Dr. von Glasersfeld:
What qualities distinguish your theory of Radical Constructivism from Eugene Gendlin's work on Focusing/Experiencing/TAE (Thinking At the Edge)? Are your systems of thought mostly compatible or contradictory? In what ways do your systems fit well together and where do they conflict?

Thank you in advance for your consideration -- I look forward to your reply.
 
Warmly,
Thomas of Baltimore City, Maryland, USA

 

ANSWER 1:

Dear Mr. "Thomas of Baltimore"??

I am afraid I have never heard of E. T. Gendlin and his books at
Amazon are too expensive for me to want to catch up. So I regret to
say that you will have to answer your question yourself.

Best wishes,

Ernst von Glasersfeld


Note added by Vince Kenny:
Ernst suggested to me that I add a comment here given that I know something about radical constructivism, and, as a therapist, something about Gendlin's work on focussing. Generally, there is a lot of connectivity between Gendlin's philosophical outlook and that of von Glasersfeld's radical constructivism, especially the emphasis on personal experience as the basis of our constructions, and thus how we produce what we can say we 'know'. They would both have an interest in avoiding 'relativism' (the mistaken notion that 'anything goes' or 'its all in your mind anyway') and an interest in what von Glasersfeld calls 'viability' or the pragmatic results of (in)validation - how well our concepts work out in our task of effectively relating ourselfs to our world.

At the point where Gendlin leaves the construction of abstract knowledge (for which you can also check out Gendlin's connection with von Glasersfeld's explication of Piaget's model) and articulates his view of 'implicit intricacy' you will find more connections with Humberto Maturana's theory of autopoiesis, and his biology of knowing, especially where they speak about the biological system structures as implicative - a kind of biological 'carrying forward', or forward-reaching feedback (feedforward).

In sum, there are many very interesting connections between Gendlin's outlook and those of von Glasersfeld and Maturana.

all the best

Vince Kenny
October 28, 2009
 

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