Bridges To The World: A Dialogue on the Construction of Knowledge, Education, and Truthby David Kenneth Johnson, Matthew R. Silliman
Do our thoughts and claims about the world give us rational access to the way the world really is? Can subjective experience ever provide a basis for grasping objec¬tive truth? These perennial philosophical questions reach to the heart of every human endeavor, from education to science to everyday, successful practice. De-spite the intuitive and nearly universal appeal of realism, influential thinkers from many fields - including educational theory, psychology, cybernetics, literary criti-cism, biology, and physics - have long followed the skeptics in denying knowers any kind of reliable bridge to the world. This slim volume offers the first compre-hensive assessment and critique of radical constructivism, a famously skeptical theory of knowledge with a large following across the academic disciplines. Em-ploying a dialogic mode of discourse, the authors have crafted a remarkably acces-sible treatise that both details the solipsistic perils of antirealism and defends an alternative, constructivist realist account of our place as knowers in the larger, constraining world.
"An entertaining, witty, and instructive romp through the treacherous episte-mological, metaphysical, and pedagogical dimensions of constructivism. All the major issues are effectively addressed, and the dialogue form is very well exe-cuted"
Harvey Siegel, Philosophy, University of Miami
"Bridges to the World is an engaging introduction to metaphysically and epistemo-logically deep issues such as realism, anti-realism, constructivism, and skepticism. The dialogue format is lively, and a welcome departure from the usual textbook format. The use of conversation to convey philosophical ideas reminds us that philosophy is, essentially, a shared, interpersonal enterprise."
Nancy Snow, Philosophy, Marquette University
"Johnson and Silliman deftly and respectfully call into question the philosophy and pedagogy of Ernst von Glasersfeld's radical constructivism. Referencing great thinkers such as Kant, Descartes, Berkeley, Dewey, and others, the book chal-lenges our thinking on important questions such as: Is there really anything to know without a knower? Are students' knowledge-maps appropriate means of exploring the terrain? This is a must read for all educators."
Warren Blumenfeld, Education, Iowa State University
Bridges to the World is a perfect primer on the realist-constructivist debates that have pervaded academia for over 25 years. The conversational format gives the essentials in fun, readily digestible form, without sacrificing philosophical nutri-tion. David Johnson and Matthew Silliman demonstrate just how all of us can (and moreover should) rightly consider ourselves to be philosophers in respect to our everyday, taken-for-granted views about the all-important matters of reality, truth, and knowledge.
Barbara S. Held, Psychology, Bowdoin College
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