The endogenous perspective of radical constructivism

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis


The goal of the thesis is a philosophical appraisal, vindication, and extension of radical constructivism (RC) based on my publications over the last few years. I characterize RC in terms of four principles/postulates: (1) the cognitive system is operationally closed; (2) statements about a mind-independent reality are metaphysical speculation; (3) explanations are dynamically circular; and (4) constructions are severely restricted due to system-internal interdependencies. In the literature, RC faces challenging criticism including claims that it (a) is self-refuting biologism (b) means that reality constructions are arbitrary (c) is ontological solipsism, (d) builds on outdated philosophical concepts, and (e) has little or no applications. My main argument in defense of RC is that cognition is a historistic process and construction complexes are historistic collections in which experiences are positively or negatively related with one another, forming a network of hierarchical interdependencies. In formal-computational experiments it has been shown that such networks have their own endogenous rules leading to “order from within”. With this formal characterization RC transcends any self-refuting biologism and progresses beyond traditional philosophy that appeals to intuition only, Order from within also prevents reality constructing from being arbitrary. Furthermore, I argue that, in addition to its application in educational research, RC lends itself to formulating architectures in artificial intelligence: to accounting for issues in cognitive science such as memory, decision making and superstition: and to philosophy of science, among other disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Ducheyne, Steffen, Supervisor
Award date12 Sep 2017
Place of PublicationBrussels
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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