Ernst von Glasersfeld, developer of radical constructivism, has died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Leverett, Massachusetts. He was 93 years old.
Von Glasersfeld’s radical constructivism is based on two premises: (a) knowledge is not passively received, but actively constructed by people; and (b) the purpose of human constructions is adaptive, not representational. His work has been influential in a variety of areas, including applications to education and psychotherapy.
Many of von Glasersfeld’s publications are available online at a website devoted to disseminating his work and keeping his intellectual legacy alive:
Von Glasersfeld’s 1995 book, Radical Constructivism: A Way of Knowing and Learning, contains perhaps his most extensive articulation of his thinking. He also recently chronicled his long and fascinating life in an autobiographical book, Partial Memories: Sketches from an Improbable Life. A collection that includes many of von Glasersfeld’s most influential papers, Key Works in Radical Constructivism, was published in 2009. This year, von Glasersfeld contributed the opening chapter to the CPN book series volume, Studies in Meaning 4. Active until the very end, his latest article appeared this week in the online journal, Constructivist Foundations: http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/6/1.
Video circa 2003 by Judy Lombardi.