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.
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
Amazon are too expensive for me to want to catch up. So I
say that you will have to answer your question yourself.
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
In sum, there are many very interesting connections
between Gendlin's outlook and those of von Glasersfeld and
all the best
October 28, 2009