Constructivist epistemology

Constructivist epistemology is a branch in philosophy of science maintaining that scientific knowledge is constructed by the scientific community, who seek to measure and construct models of the natural world. Natural science therefore consists of mental constructs that aim to explain sensory experience and measurements.

According to constructivists, the world is independent of human minds, but knowledge of the world is always a human and social construction.[1] Constructivism opposes the philosophy of objectivism, embracing the belief that a human can come to know the truth about the natural world not mediated by scientific approximations with different degrees of validity and accuracy.

According to constructivists there is no single valid methodology in science, but rather a diversity of useful methods.[2]

Origin of the term

The term originates from psychology, education, and social constructivism. The expression "constructivist epistemology" was first used by Jean Piaget, 1967, with plural form in the famous article from the "Encyclopédie de la Pléiade" Logique et connaissance scientifique or "Logic and Scientific knowledge", an important text for epistemology.[citation needed] He refers directly to the mathematician Brouwer and his radical constructivism.

The terms Constructionism and constructivism are often, but should not be, used interchangeably. Constructionism is an approach to learning that was developed by Papert; the approach was greatly influenced by his work with Piaget, but it is very different. Constructionism involves the creation of a product to show learning.[3] 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.[citation needed]