Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Constructivist Foundations





Start Page


Last Page

94, 102


This brief paper responds to a featured article By Ernst von Glasersfeld, titled “Who conceives of society,” Constructivist Foundations 3,2: 59-64, 2008, in which he elaborates his radical constructivist conception of human cognition about social phenomena. The response agrees that individuals construct their own meanings but questions whether discrepancies in understanding are recognizable and resolvable in conversation. Understanding, it suggests, does not refer to similarities of meanings, but is asserted to move a conversation on, including to other topics. Regarding social phenomena, the response suggests that social organizations, for example, consist of networks of conversations of which its participants can know or conceptualize only their parts and must trust the other participants to coordinate their contributions within what constitutes a social organization. It seeks to put language use in place of cognition and gives preference to social/conversational over individual/cognitive conceptions of being human.


Cognition, Society, Constructivism, Language, Social interaction


Date Posted: 20 August 2009

This document has been peer reviewed.