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Annotationen:Abstraction, Re-Presentation, and Reflection: An Interpretation of Experience and of Piaget’s Approach/Bfg3odrse4In this requirement, representation is similar to recognition. Both often work hand in hand, e.g., when one recognizes a Volkswagen though one can see only part of its back but is nevertheless able to visualize the whole.
Annotationen:Abstraction, Re-Presentation, and Reflection: An Interpretation of Experience and of Piaget’s Approach/Bsgnvh5vo1An example may help to clarify what I am trying to say. If, in someone’s account of a European journey, you read or hear the name “Paris”, you may register it as a pointer to a variety of experiential “referents” with which you hapen to have associated it—e.g., a particular point on the map of Europe, your first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, the Mona Lisa in the Louvre— but if the account of the journey immediately moves to London, you would be unlikely to implement fully any one of them as an actual re-presentation. At any subsequent moment, however, if the context or the conversation required it, you could return to the mention of “Paris” and develop one of the associated re-presentations.
Annotationen:Abstraction, Re-Presentation, and Reflection: An Interpretation of Experience and of Piaget’s Approach/Tb4vyjiobfWith regard to the need for an acting agent, a program is similar to a map. If someone draws a simple map to show you how to get to his house, he essentially indicates a potential path from a place you are presumed to know to the unknown location. The drawing of the path is a graphic representation of the turns that have to be made to accomplish that itinerary, but it does not and could not show what it is to move and what it is to turn right or left. Any user of the map, must supply the motion and the changes of direction with the focus of visual attention while reading the map. Only if one manages to abstract this sequence of motions from the reading activity, can one transform it into physical movement through the mapped region.
Annotationen:Abstraction, Re-Presentation, and Reflection: An Interpretation of Experience and of Piaget’s Approach/Tm9j7422k1If someone, having just eaten an apple, takes a bite out of a second one, and is asked which of the two tasted sweeter, we should not be surprised that the person could give an answer.
Annotationen:Abstraction, Re-Presentation, and Reflection: An Interpretation of Experience and of Piaget’s Approach/Wpt5k6ohg9I hope to make this clear with the help of an example. A child growing up in a region where apples are red would neessarily and quite correctly associate the idea of redness with the name “apple”. A distant relative arriving from another part of the country, bringing a basket of yellow apples, would cause a major perturbation for the child, who might want to insist that yellow things should not be called “apples”. However, the social pressure of the family’s usage of the word will soon force the child to accept the fact that the things people call “apple” come in different colors. The child might then be told that apples can also be green, which would enable the child to recognize such a particular green thing as an apple the first time it is brought to the house.
Annotationen:Adaptation and Viability/Gu6abzpjqnLet me cite one example that is particularly well-documented and well-known: the Japanese macaque Imo on Koshima Islet that started washing her sweet potatoes (Kawai, 1965). Within 10 years the entire population, with the exception of a few old males who were too conservative, practiced potato washing. There was no time for a mutation or some other genetic accident to increase or decrease anyone’s viability. Nor, indeed, is there any evidence that potato washing has increased anyone’s genetic fitness. But as the new activity quickly created exceptional familiarity with water, it led to yet another novel behavior: swimming. Since all this has taken place in a country where earthquakes and tectonic disasters are not at all impossible, it might be tempting to conjecture that if Koshima Islet should one day sink into the sea, the swimming skill might yet become the crucial feature that allows these macaques to reach a safe shore while the macaques in other sinking regions perish. Subsequent generations of sociobiologists could then use the swimming macaques as a textbook example for “evolutionary explanation.” But such a scenario in which swimming might become an important asset toward the survival of macaques or macaque genes has not yet happened. Yet the washing of food and swimming have become part of the behavioral repertoire of a macaque population without the benefit of an evolutionary explanation.
Annotationen:An Introduction to Radical Constructivism/D8ioavey6mTwo eggs may be considered the same because of their shape, size, or color, or because they come from the same hen; but there will be a pungent difference between them if one was laid yesterday and the other six weeks ago. A fieldmouse and an elephant are different in many ways, but they will be considered the same whenever we want to distinguish mammals from other animals. Finally, all eggs, all animals, and indeed all objects that I have ever seen or imagined, are the same in that one respect that I have isolated them as bounded, unitary objects in the total field of my experience.
Annotationen:An Introduction to Radical Constructivism/Dplt7s04u8A similar, often cited example, is the movie film which, depending on the conditions of perception, we see as a sequence of individually different images or as one continuously moving image. Irrespective of any “real” horse that may or may not have trotted somewhere at some time and been filmed while doing so, when the film is presented to us, we ourselves must construct the motion by constituting a continuous change of one horse from the succession of images.
Annotationen:An Introduction to Radical Constructivism/Plr2bjld4gNo one uses these conceptual possibilities more skillfully than the professional magician. During a performance he may, for instance, request a spectator’s ring, toss another ring across the room to his assistant, and then let the stunned spectator find his ring in his own coat pocket. The magic consists in directing the spectators’ perception in such a way that they unwittingly construct an individual identity between the first experience of the ring and the experience of the thrown object. Once that has been done, it would, indeed, require magic to transfer the ring from the assistant to the spectator’s pocket. Another case is that of the red ribbon which the magician cuts into little pieces and then – literally with a flick of his hand – produces once more as one whole piece.
Annotationen:An Introduction to Radical Constructivism/Tcbgm4w3trA key fits if it opens the lock. The fit describes a capacity of the key, not of the lock. Thanks to professional burglars, we know only too well that there are many keys that are shaped quite differently from ours but nevertheless unlock our doors. The metaphor is crude, but it serves quite well to bring into relief the difference I want to explicate.
Annotationen:Anticipation in the Constructivist Theory of Cognition/Omso6tefg9Let us look at the example more closely. I am thirsty, and there is a glass of water in front of me on the table. From past experience I have learned (by induction and abstraction) that water is a means to quench my thirst. This is the ‘voluntary purpose’ I have chosen at the moment. In other words, I am anticipating that water will do again what it did in the past. But to achieve my purpose, I have to drink the water. There, again, I am relying on past experience, in the sense that I carry out the ‘specific movements’ which I expect (anticipate) to bring the glass to my lips. It is these movements that are controlled and guided by negative feedback. When I reflect upon this sequence of decisions and actions, it becomes clear that the notion of causality plays an important role in the event.
Annotationen:Anticipation in the Constructivist Theory of Cognition/S6xchbgg1wEven in Aristotle’s day, bright people had noticed that those who regularly took some physical exercise such as walking, had a better chance of staying healthy. They had observed this often enough to consider it a reliable rule. Given that they had Olympic games and were interested in the performances of athletes, they probably also had some plausible theory of why exercise made one feel better. Consequently, they were confident in believing that going for walks was an efficient cause that had the effect of maintaining and even improving your health. People who felt that their physical fitness was deteriorating could, therefore, reasonably decide to use walking as a tool to bring about a beneficial change in their condition.
Annotationen:Aspects of Constructivism/M3oefrroplIf two people share a room, there is one room and both live in it. If they share a bowl of cherries, none of the cherries is eaten by both persons.
Annotationen:Conceptual Models in Educational Research and Practice/VzvbroqbxaWorking with children is in many ways like working with foreigners with whom one has only fragments of a language in common.
Annotationen:Cybernetics, Experience, and the Concept of Self/B4xmtlx8aiWhen I visually distinguish a hand from the writing pad and the table on which it lies, I carry out exactly the same kinds of operations as when I distinguish the coffee cup from the table on which it stands, or the picture from the wall on which it hangs, or the cardinal outside my window from the branch on which it happens to be perched and from the rest of the landscape.
Annotationen:Cybernetics, Experience, and the Concept of Self/Gs82cvn8tyFor many five-year-olds, for instance, the sun today and the sun yesterday are not yet one and the same individual (Piaget, 1971, p. 87).
Annotationen:Cybernetics, Experience, and the Concept of Self/Gv92fgoj8xSuppose a very young child applies the word dog to every four-legged creature he sees. He may have abstracted a limited set of attributes and created a large category, but his abstraction will now show up in his vocabulary. Parents will not provide him with a conventional name for his category, e.g., quadruped, but instead will require him to narrow his use of dog to its proper range... The child who spontaneously hits on the category four-legged animals will be required to give it up in favor of dogs, cats, horses, cows, and the like ... The schoolboy who learns the word quadruped has abstracted from differentiated and named subor- dinates. The child he was abstracted through a failure to differentiate. Abstraction after differentiation may be the mature process, and abstraction from a failure to differentiate the primitive.
Annotationen:Cybernetics, Experience, and the Concept of Self/Jfxfuijhx1For example, the visual experience that we consider an instance of a specific object is different every time. The object’s shape changes according to the angle, and its size according to the distance from which it is seen. Its color changes according to the illumination, and other parameters are no less variable according to changes in the context. What, then, constitutes the invariant object which the organism recognizes?
Annotationen:Cybernetics, Experience, and the Concept of Self/Js950dj36jThe second development made possible by the introduction of the representational use of invariants is that they can now be used as building blocks for conceptual constructions that move further and further away from the raw material of sensory or motor signals. This shift constitutes one of the salient characteristics of all the “higher,” more sophisticated mental operations and it has consequences for epistemology far beyond the scope of this chapter.
Annotationen:Cybernetics, Experience, and the Concept of Self/Mr0ewqq6ynWhen an infant, for instance, assimilates some visual elements to the invariant pattern that, for him, constitutes a rattle, and grasps and shakes a piece of wood that happens to be within reach, then the absence of the auditory element expected to ensue may cause a discrepancy that cannot be eliminated by assimilation. In that case, attention is likely to be focused on any of the formerly disregarded visual or tactual elements by means of which the piece of wood could be discriminated from the rattle. Once the discrimination has occurred, the new elements, with or without some of the old ones, can be associated in an act of accommodation to form a novel scheme. This novel scheme, from then on, will serve as a relatively independent invariant for the assimilation of future experiences.
Annotationen:Cybernetics, Experience, and the Concept of Self/Nsr28z6iulThe child who stands in front of a looking glass, sticks out his tongue, and contorts his face into all sorts of grimaces gets a constant confirmation of this causal link. The mirror image is as obedient as his own limbs and can, thus, be integrated with the body percept, expanding it by providing visual access to otherwise invisible aspects. And like the body image, it is a visual percept, an item that is experienced not the item that does the experiencing.
Annotationen:Cybernetics, Experience, and the Concept of Self/Pa5p9mi0krA well-fed brother whom one has not seen for 20 years may be bald and scrawny when he returns; he may have a different accent, his likes and dislikes may have changed, and what he now says about politics, art, and women may be incompatible with what one remembers of him. Yet one could still accept him as the self-same individual.
Annotationen:Cybernetics, Experience, and the Concept of Self/Rejukma2ynTake a finger of your right hand and run it along your left forearm: the tactual signals originating in your finger will be a homogeneous “continuous” succession because the receptors from which they come remain the same; the tactual signals originating in your left arm, instead, will constitute a sequence of different signals because they come from different receptors. If you consider this second set of signals as a sequence of different locations with which your finger establishes and terminates contact, you will conceive of your finger as moving. If you consider them equivalent units linked into sequence by the continuous signals from your finger, you will conceive of them as points or “moments” in time. In this second case, the finger of your right hand supplies what is perhaps the closest sensory-motor analogy to the continuity of the experiencing subject that we call our ““self.”
Annotationen:Die Radikal-Konstruktivistische Wissenstheorie/Amnbrhn1maEin Thermostat zum Beispiel bewirkt nur dann eine Tätigkeit (Heizen oder Kühlen), wenn die wahrgenommene Temperatur nicht mehr mit dem festgelegten Sollwert (Referenz) Ubereinstimmt.
Annotationen:Die Radikal-Konstruktivistische Wissenstheorie/Erlmg3yhjiSelbst wenn die fürsorgliche Mutter eine Tasse vom Tisch hebt und zur einjährigen Tochter sagt: „Schau, Marie, das ist eine Tasse, eine Tasse.“, muß Marie zuerst den Gegenstand in ihrem Gesichtsfeld isolieren und den Wortlaut von anderen gleichzeitigen Geräuschen trennen, bevor sie zwischen beiden eine semantische Verbindung hersteilen kann.
Annotationen:Die Radikal-Konstruktivistische Wissenstheorie/Gn8rwmbam5Man braucht mindestens zwei, zwischen denen man einen Unterschied feststellt. Nehmen wir an, ich sehe, daß der Apfel, den meine Frau mir vor zwei Tagen auf den Schreibtisch gelegt hat, nun angefault ist. Das Diagramm dieser Änderung sieht so aus:

((53)) Um zu sagen, daß der Apfel „X“ sich verändert hat, muß ich annehmen, daß er in beiden Beobachtungen derselbe war; wäre er es nicht, so müßte ich ‘Austausch’ denken, nicht ‘Veränderung’. Ist der Apfel an eine andere Stelle des Schreibtischs gerollt, so setzte ich statt der Eigenschaften im Diagramm die zwei verschiedenen Ortsbestimmungen ein, und dann zeigt es die ‘Ortsveränderung’ an. ((54)) Wenn ein Objekt im Laufe mehrerer Erlebnisse in gewisser Hinsicht unverändert bleibt, so kann ich die Fortdauer seines Zustands durch zwei einander folgende, aber ansonsten gleiche Momentaufnahmen anzeigen und so den Begriff der Dauer nahelegen. Verbinde ich das Element der Fortdauer an einem Ort mit der Beobachtung des identischen Individuums an einem anderen, so erhalte ich den Begriff der räumlichen ‘Ausdehnung’.

((55)) Daß die in diesen Diagrammen angedeuteten mentalen Operationen zumeist nicht bewußt registriert werden, läßt sich mit Hilfe von zwei ganz banalen Aussagen zeigen. Einmal sage ich zu einem Besucher: „Der Zug geht direkt von hier nach Boston“, ein andermal,.Diese Straße geht nach Boston.“ Normalerweise wird weder mir noch ihm dabei bewußt, daß der Zug nur jeweils an einem Ort sein kann, während die Straße als an beiden Orten zugleich gedacht wird.
Annotationen:Die Radikal-Konstruktivistische Wissenstheorie/Lb95wxijkyDiese Beziehung des Hineinpassens läßt sich vielleicht am besten durch die Metapher klar machen, die einige Biologen formuliert haben: Der Vorgang der Auslese, die nur Angepaßtes überleben läßt, ist mit der Funktion eines Siebs vergleichbar, das alles durchfallen läßt, was irgendwie durch die Maschen schlüpft. Was durchfällt 'paßt', besitzt aber keine Eigenschaften des Siebs - es ist nur so beschaffen, daß es durch die Beschränkungen des Siebs nicht beinträchtigt wird.
Annotationen:Die Radikal-Konstruktivistische Wissenstheorie/Onut2fruojSo kann zum Beispiel eine Frau ihrer Freundin entrüstet von einer Party berichten: „Stell Dir vor, die Irmgard kam in demselben Kleid wie ich!“; und der Sohn kann der Familie auf einer Ferienfahrt erklären: „Das ist das gleiche Auto, das uns schon vor dem Mittagessen vorgefahren ist.“ - Im ersten Fall sind es zwei Kleider, die sich in Bezug auf die Eigenschaften, die da maßgebend sind, nicht unterscheiden; im zweiten Fall hingegen handelt es sich um ein und dasselbe Auto. Anders ausgedrückt: Im ersten Fall wird auf Grund eines Vergleichs die Zugehörigkeit zweier Gegenstände zu einer bestimmten Klasse behauptet, im zweiten wird dem Gegenstand zweier zeitlich getrennter Erlebnisse individuelle Identität zugeschrieben.
Annotationen:Distinguishing the Observer: An Attempt at Interpreting Maturana/Es4fd0aw79In Maturana’s edifice every point arises out of the preceding one – much as when, in thick fog on an Alpine glacier, one places one foot in front of the other without ever seeing what lies further ahead or further behind one; and as sometimes happens in such a fog, after hours of walking, one realizes that one is walking in one’s own footsteps. The fact that one has begun the circle at a specific point could be perceived only from a higher vantage point – if the fog had lifted and made possible a view. But the fog that obstructs our view of ontic reality cannot lift, because, as Kant already saw, it is inextricably built into our ways and means of experiencing.
Annotationen:Homage to Jean Piaget (1896–1980)/G365xnoeihThe case of the mollusks may serve as an example. It is as though a growing mollusk could notice that the water around it flows quickly, and that the shell it is building had therefore better be flat, so that it offers less resistance. From an evolutionary point of view, such a notion is even worse than the Lamarckian heresy.
Annotationen:Homage to Jean Piaget (1896–1980)/N2w7shbk55Let me give you a very simple example. It is a charming anecdote I read, but cannot remember where. A little girl is walking, and every now and then she pushes her ball to roll ahead. As the path begins to go up a hill, the ball, to her surprise, comes rolling back. And she asks: “How does the ball know where I am?.” The little girl’s question demonstrates that she is at least to some extent aware of her experience and can reflect upon it. Only a reflective mind, a mind that is looking for order in the baffling world of experience, could formulate such a question. It is the kind of question that, after innumerable further trials and untenable assumptions, would lead an imaginative thinker with the stamina of Galilei, to an explanatory principle such as ‘gravitation’.
Annotationen:How Do We Mean A Constructivist Sketch of Semantics/A6ez27ubbpIf you consider the relative distances of the individual stars it becomes clear that there is only a very small area of the universe (as astronomers have taught us to conceive it) from which the five stars could be said to form a double-u. Move the observer a few light-years to the right or the left, the double-u would disappear. Move the observer 50 light-years forward, and he or she could construct only a triangle with the three stars that remained in front.
Annotationen:How Do We Mean A Constructivist Sketch of Semantics/C1hymz28byI can illustrate this by a simple example. English text books of linguistics frequently give “the boy hit the ball” as example of a simple sentence that contains a subject, a verb, and an object. In the British Isles this sentence usually calls forth the re-presentation of a boy armed with a tennis racket or a golf club. In the United States he will be imagined to hold a baseball bat. This is a very minor difference. However, if the sentence has to be translated into German, it turns out to be far more complicated. The translator has to know more about the situational context, because the “simple” sentence turns out to be ambiguous. It would be appropriate in several situations, each of which requires different words in German. Here are the four most likely ones:

Fig.6: “The boy hits the ball” If the boy hits the ball with a racket, a club, or a bat, the German verb has to be schlagen; if he hits it with an arrow or a bullet, it would be treffen; if he hits it with his bicycle, it would be stossen plus the preposition auf; and if he hits the ball when falling from the balcony, it would be fallen … auf or schlagen … auf.
Annotationen:How Do We Mean A Constructivist Sketch of Semantics/Ebc43zoltcA striking example are the constellations we all can learn to see, name, and recognize on a clear night. Take the one called Cassiopeia. It has been know

n since the beginning human history. The Greeks saw it as the crown of a mythical queen and gave it her name. We see it more prosaically as a “W” in the vicinity of the Polar Star.

Fig.4: The Constellation of Cassiopeia If you consider the relative distances of the individual stars it becomes clear that there is only a very small area of the universe (as astronomers have taught us to conceive it) from which the five stars could be said to form a double-u. Move the observer a few light-years to the right or the left, the double-u would disappear. Move the ob

server 50 light-years forward, and he or she could construct only a triangle with the three stars that remained in front.
Annotationen:How Do We Mean A Constructivist Sketch of Semantics/H4w2btqhvpJust as, for instance, the Morse code links short and long experiences of beeps to re-presentations of letters of the alphabet, so in language, sound images are linked to concepts, that is, to re-presentations of experiential units.
Annotationen:Knowing without Metaphysics: Aspects of the Radical Constructivist Position/Tujb4l2u48Assume you have made an appointment with a friend to meet in a certain place on a certain day. When the day comes, a lot of snow has fallen during the preceding night. There is a shorter and a longer way to drive to the arranged place. You know that the longer way is the quicker when there is snow on the roads. You know this from your own experience in your subjective physical environment. But now you use it in your social environment by predicting that your friend will come by that route. If your prediction turns out to be correct and, especially, if your friend confirms that he chose the longer way for the reason that you had in mind, your reasoning will be greatly reinforced and the elements that were involved in it will seem more like an objective reality that is independent of both of you.
Annotationen:Knowing without Metaphysics: Aspects of the Radical Constructivist Position/U6b3jonz63‘there’s a book in front of you on the table; you know it’s a book, I know it’s a book, and anyone who looks at it would recognize it as a book – why do you keep telling us that the book is not really there?’
Annotationen:Knowledge as Environmental Fit/Ab8fb8wrqdFrom the radical constructivist perspective, “knowledge” fits reality in much the same way that a key fits a lock that it is able to open. The fit describes a capacity of the key, not a property of the lock. When we face a novel problem, we are in much the same position as the burglar who wishes to enter a house. The “key” with which he successfully opens the door might be a paper clip, a bobby pin, a credit card, or a skillfully crafted skeleton key. All that matters is that it fits within the constraints of the particular lock and allows the burglar to get in.
Annotationen:Knowledge as Environmental Fit/Cczrua7jszPyrrho and his followers had successfully argued that if, say, an apple appears to have a certain color and a certain smell, feels smooth and tastes sweet to us, this cannot give us the knowledge that a real apple possesses these properties, because we have no way of examining the apple other than by seeing, smelling, tasting, and feeling it again.
Annotationen:Knowledge as Environmental Fit/Eyxb6dpfztIt is analogous to asking, say, what the magnification of a telescope might be if nothing that is seen through the telescope can be seen or measured in any other way.
Annotationen:Knowledge as Environmental Fit/Qgvba1vpvsThis viability is, in principle, the same notion as in the case of the lock and the key.
Annotationen:Knowledge as Environmental Fit/Yabi7ix5fkIt is the same trick that the statistician performs quite openly: when something has recurred a sufficient number of times, it is considered “significant”—which is to say, it is considered probable enough to be taken as a “fact.” The good statistician, of course, does not forget that it was he or she who decided the level of recurrence beyond which things were to be considered “significant.” Like the good modern physicist, he does not argue that, just because the sun has risen every morning for as long as we can remember or have records, we have the right to assume that it must continue to do so in the future. With David Hume, they know that there is no conceivable logical reason why the future should resemble the past. But, for practical reasons, we tend to assume that it will. If we did not make that assumption, we could not draw any inferences at all from past experience, and our attempts at predicting and controlling future experience could not even get started.
Annotationen:On the Concept of Interpretation/Hhh1jxh2kiIf I am told that a mermaid is a creature with a woman’s head and torso and the tail of a fish, I need not have met such a creature in actual experience to understand the word, but I must be somewhat familiar with what is called “woman” and what is called “fish” to construct a meaning for the novel word. And if I am not told that the fish’s tail replaces the woman’s legs, I may construct a notion that is more like a fish-tailed biped than like the intended traditional mermaid. My deviant notion could then be corrected only by further interaction, i.e., by getting into situations where my conception of a creature with legs as well as a fish’s tail comes into explicit conflict with a picture or with what speakers of the language say about mermaids.
Annotationen:On the Concept of Interpretation/Uxqiv7jqtz“Shut the door!,” for instance, must be responded to with a sequence of motor acts which has to be learned in a succession of experiential situations, a succession which provides occasion for the acquisition of simple but nevertheless specific skills and, above all, occasion to experience what has to be avoided. Most of us have been scolded at one time or another for slamming a door when the instruction was to shut it.
Annotationen:Piaget’s Legacy: Cognition as Adaptive Activity/Ubwx4s36q1You may, for example, dream that you are in a room, but all you see of the room is a door (perhaps because you expect someone to come in through it). You have no idea of the size of the room, and there are no windows, curtains, pictures, no ceiling or furniture, or anything else that usually characterizes a room. These items may come in later—as the plot of the dream develops— but at this point, they are irrelevant in your dream-presentation of a room. In contrast, your perception of a room starts from sensory impressions that you proceed to coordinate, and they then allow you to consider them compatible with your concept of “room”.
Annotationen:Piaget’s Legacy: Cognition as Adaptive Activity/Xzttr85swpWe can visualize it with the help of a metaphor: the environment “selects” in the manner of a screen used to grade gravel: the screen admits what falls through and discards what does not.
Annotationen:Reflections on Cybernetics/Wf4pa99zd7The good old thermostat, the favorite example in the early literature of cybernetics, is still a useful explanatory tool. In it a temperature is set as the goal-state the user desires for the room. The thermostat knows nothing of the room or of desirable temperatures. It is designed to eliminate any discrepancy between a set reference value and the feedback it receives from its sensory organ, namely the value indicated by its thermometer. If the sensed value is too low, it switches on the heater, if it is too high, it switches on the cooling system. Employing Gordon Pask’s clever distinction (Pask, 1969, p.23–24): from the user’s point of view, the thermostat has a purpose for, i.e. to maintain a desired temperature, whereas the purpose in the device is to eliminate a difference.
Annotationen:Representation and Deduction/C0bm2n1mvjIf we have never formulated a tentative rule of the kind “all roses I have seen, smelled sweet,” we would not be tempted to say: “this flower looks like a rose— therefore it will smell sweet.” In other words, if we have had no success with inductive inferences, we are unlikely to proceed to deductive ones.
Annotationen:Teleology and the Concepts of Causation/Rtn79elo59In contrast, if archaeologists, in digging up remnants of a bygone civilization, find an unknown item and discover that it generates a flame when it is handled in a particular way, they may conclude that this was indeed its purpose. This would be conceived as the purpose of the item, in their description.
Annotationen:Teleology and the Concepts of Causation/Th8cbc3vq6The example of the bronze statue again offers a useful image. The shape of the statue is quite literally ‘defined’ by the mold, in the sense that the mold constrains and delimits where the liquid metal can flow. Analogously, the ‘parts of a definition’ constrain and delimit both conceptual construction and the application of concepts.
Annotationen:Teleology and the Concepts of Causation/Vh8ic6066zThe way the sculptor imposes form, is by chipping away the bits of marble that do not fit into his vision. The way form is imposed on the bronze, is by pouring it into a constraining mold. Potentially, the material could end up in innumerable other forms, but the procedure of statue-making, be it chipping or casting, eliminates all but one.
Annotationen:Teleology and the Concepts of Causation/Vlgvxy38ucIf there is no preference for not having pain and getting blisters on one’s fingers, there is no reason why the toddler should not touch the hot stove every time it happens to be near enough.
Annotationen:Teleology and the Concepts of Causation/Xjnnfo8noaThere are, for instance, the conscious or unconscious accommodations we have to make – and make quite successfully – in the thousands of trivial routines that are indispensable in our way of living, such as retrieving the toothpaste that has fallen behind the wash basin, looking up the telephone number of a person we want to meet, locating a book on a shelf, finding our misplaced car keys, negotiating the stairs to the garage during a power failure, etc., etc.
Annotationen:Teleology and the Concepts of Causation/Yswz9fvgxhA simple example may illustrate this. Having got tired of buying matches, someone may decide to design a cigarette lighter. Lighting cigarettes will be the purpose prescribed for the gadget. “People do not build purposeless machines” (loc.cit.).
Annotationen:Teleology and the Concepts of Causation/Yx4taszm3uAs they quickly discovered, one and the same thing might be reinforcing under certain circumstances (e.g. meat pellets, when the rat was hungry) and not reinforcing under others (e.g. when the rat was well fed).
Annotationen:The Concepts of Adaptation and Viability in a Radical Constructivist Theory of Knowledge/Hqbpcwl9qcIt is easy to see that a bricklayer is to some extent constrained in his building by certain basic characteristics that are inherent in the bricks he uses. In much the same way, I believe, the representation we construct of our adult experiential world is constrained by certain basic characteristics of the building blocks we are using, which is to say, the building blocks which we created during the sensorimotor period.
Annotationen:The Construction of Knowledge/S4pp73v9flLet us assume that I was here yesterday and, just as now, had a glass of water in front of me. I come in today and say: “Oh, this is the same glass, the identical glass that stood here yesterday.” If someone asked me, how I can tell that it is the identical glass, I should have to look for a particular that distinguishes this glass from all others. This may turn out to be impossible.
Annotationen:The Constructivist View of Communication/Edohi93gyjLet us assume that your attention is caught by the color red. As such the redness is not confined, has not yet a specific shape in your visual field, and is not a discrete thing. But as you focus on it, you are able to fit the color into the pattern you have learned to call “house”. If you were asked to describe what you see, you would most likely say: “there is a red house”. You choose the adjectival connection because the color and the thing were produced in a continuous application of attention. If, on the other hand, you recognize in your visual field a pattern that fits your concept of “house” and only then, scanning it more closely, you focus attention on its color, you would most likely say: “the house is red”. This syntactic structure clearly expresses that the concept of “house” was brought forth independently of the color that was subsequently attributed to it.
Annotationen:The Control of Perception and the Construction of Reality: Epistemological Aspects of the Feedback-Control System/Mgmrugxl8tWith a rat in a Skinner box, for instance, it will no longer be sufficient to ask why the rat’s bar-presses become more or less frequent; we also have to ask how the rat succeeds in pressing the bar when it may have to start toward it from different places in the box. In other words, how is it that the rat – or ourselves, for that matter – ever manage to hit a target or attain a goal?
Annotationen:The Logic of Scientific Fallibility/R60qr14fqaFor many thousands of years the river Nile flooded the Egyptian lowlands near the Mediterranean coast at least once a year. Vast amounts of fresh water seeped into the soil, fertilized it, and created a natural pressure against the water of the sea. The floods were a nuisance and, quite apart from this, using the Nile’s water to irrigate parts of the desert up-stream seemed eminently desirable. So the Assuan Dam was built to solve these two problems. The Nile no longer got out of hand and new land up- stream could be irrigated and cultivated. For a little while the dam seemed a wonderful success of science and engineering. Then it became clear that the salt of the Mediterranean was slowly but steadily seeping into and devastating the lowlands along the coast which had fed Egypt for millennia.
Annotationen:The Radical Constructivist View of Science/F9mjk3bynqThe first is usually intended as an item isolated as part of experience; e.g. the chair you sit on, the keyboard in front of you, the hand that does the typing, the deep breath you have just taken. In short, any item of the furniture of someone’s experiential world can be called an object.
Annotationen:The Reluctance to Change a Way of Thinking/Pp2o1bfp77When the nail that holds up the wire to my computer falls out of the wall in my study and I use my shoe to hammer it in again, I am deliberately assimilating the shoe to the function of a hammer. It may work, or it may not, but even if it does work I am not led to believe that the shoe is a hammer. In contrast, a child that has just begun to associate two or three visual characteristics, such as four legs, a tail, and fur, with utterances of the word “dog”, may well utter that word when a new visual experience allows her to see these three characteristics. A psychologist who witnesses this, may smile and say: “Ah, you see, she assimilates the lamb to her concept of dog!” He will be quite right, of course, in making this assessment; but he will be wrong if he believes that the child’s utterance requires some special activity that is called “assimilation”. From the child’s point of view, given her criteria for using the word “dog”, the lamb is a dog, and she has no reason to modify her categorization until some unexpected event creates a perturbation. Only when the new item behaves in a way that seems undog-like to her, or when someone says “No, dear, this is a lamb”, will the child have occasion to accommodate, i.e., to look for a distinguishing characteristic and, if one can be found, to create a new conceptual category called “lamb”.
Annotationen:Thoughts about Space, Time, and the Concept of Identity/Bkw1c0qjquA person whose identity is questioned because the years of absence have made him unrecognizable to his family, will, as a last resort, recount memories of events experienced in their company.
Annotationen:Thoughts about Space, Time, and the Concept of Identity/C1yimv3l5oI may judge the pain I have at this moment to be different from the pain I felt last week; and to make that judgement I do not have to hypothesize that the one comes from my sinus, the other from an impacted wisdom tooth; in fact, to compare any two percepts, I do not have to externalize their origin. Nor do I have to believe that these percepts are images of “objects”.
Annotationen:Thoughts about Space, Time, and the Concept of Identity/Q32xrhbg0qMount Etna towers over Sicily regardless of any Sicilians, the Monalisa smiles whether the Louvre is open to the public or not, and the river Inn flows down the Engadin even when no one dangles a toe in its icy water. All that (and more) is what we hold to be reality. The mountain, the painted smile, and – in spite of what Heraclitus said – even the flowing river, are supposed to have their place and to remain what they are.
Annotationen:Thoughts about Space, Time, and the Concept of Identity/Srf747xbx0Take, for example, the two statements: “This is the same girl I saw yesterday” and “She bought the same dress as her sister.” The girl is one and the same individual, seen twice; the dresses are two, considered equivalent in every respect that one chose to take into account when comparing them.
Annotationen:Why Constructivism Must be Radical/Gvgr1cfdynWhen you are engaged, as you are now, in reading what I have written, it can be said that communication is taking place. To be more precise, you are in the position of a receiver. Let’s take a moment to observe what goes on. To begin with, you have to be able to perceive a series of black marks printed on the page and to identify these marks, first as letters and then as combinations of letters forming words of a language with which you are familiar. You are familiar with a language whenever the meanings of most of its words hold some asso ciation for you. At that point, the perception of words calls up meanings in your head and you attempt to link these meanings together in order to develop larger conceptual structures that are related to the sentences of the text. If you succeed and manage to produce structures that appear reasonable to you, you feel that you have understood what the author intended to say.

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