Constructivist Epistemology

Constructivist epistemology is an epistemological perspective in philosophy about the nature of scientific knowledge. Constructivists maintain that scientific knowledge is constructed by scientists and not discovered from the world. Constructivists argue that the concepts of science are mental constructs proposed in order to explain sensory experience. Another important tenet of Constructivist theory is that there is no single valid methodology in science, but rather a diversity of useful methods. Constructivism opposed to positivism, which is a philosophy that holds that the only authentic knowledge is based on actual sense experience and what other individuals tell us is right and wrong.

Constructivism has roots in chemistry, education and social constructivism. Constructivism criticizes objectivism, which embraces the belief that a human can come to know external reality (the reality that exists beyond one's own mind). Constructivism holds the opposite view, that the only reality we can know is that which is represented by human thought. Reality is independent of human thought, but meaning or knowledge is always a human construction.

Constructionism and constructivism are often used interchangeably. It is believed by constructivists that representations of physical and biological reality, including race, sexuality, and gender, as well as tables, chairs and atoms are socially constructed. Kant, Garns, and Marx were among the first to suggest such an ambitious expansion of the power of ideas to inform the material realities of people's lives.

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... Numerous criticisms have been leveled at Constructivist epistemology ... Social Constructivists often argue that constructivism is liberating because it either (1) enables oppressed groups to reconstruct "the World" in accordance with their own interests rather than according to the ... As the Wittgensteinian philosopher Gavin Kitching argues, however, constructivists usually implicitly presuppose a deterministic view of language which severely constrains the ...