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A Critique of Radical Social Constructivism


by Peter Slezak — 2000

Undeniably, if radical social constructivist doctrines are correct, the implications for science education are revolutionary for, on these views, knowledge is merely consensus upon arbitrary convention; and education involves not learning as a cognitive process of reason and understanding, but merely conformity to power and political interests. As I will suggest, there could be no more fundamental challenge to education than the one posed by the radical form of social constructivism, since it purports to overturn the very conception of knowledge in the Western Tradition: The self-advertising grandiosely proclaims, “The foundations of modern thought are at stake here.”


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 99, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 102 Number 7, 2000, p. 91-126
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18699, Date Accessed: 12/14/2017 11:27:42 PM

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About the Author
  • Peter Slezak
    University of New South Wales
    E-mail Author
    PETER SLEZAK is director of the program in cognitive science at the University of New South Wales. His areas of research and publication include the work of Descartes, problems of mental representation and visual imagery, rational decision theory, and sociology of scientific knowledge.
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