Scientific Research and Oncoming Vehicles: Can Radical Constructivists Embrace One and Dodge the Other?



The author's purpose in this article was to respond to two questions raised by Roth and Lawson in the September, 1993, issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Question 1: Would a radical constructivist step out of the path of an approaching vehicle? Question 2: In the conduct of inquiry, would a radical constructivist employ a controlled experiment, test a hypothesis, and quantitatively analyze the data? The author answers each question affirmatively, using selected work of Heinz von Foerster, Ernst von Glasersfeld, and others in developing the answers. Issues central to the development include the nature of truth and knowledge, the concept of fit versus match, and the notion that inquiry is driven by questions, with methods as subordinate to questions.