M. Potter bemoans that
“Constructivists, analogously, do not realize the extent to which they work with objectivist ideals in objectivist contexts.”
I wonder if there are even more unnoticed leftovers hidden.
OK, concepts are no longer transported into the student’s brain, but only constructed there. But how does the “construction set” get into the brain?
This is a bit more tricky (due to the bottleneck?) but somehow it must work, right? “new ideas must be integrated”; “learn by applying latent ideas and new ideas alike to the present situation”; “attempts to apply and test ideas, use them, relate them to each other and to life” — but the ideas are a fixed given?
It is difficult to let go the belief that there must be some atomic, pre-existing entities as the building blocks of knowledge. “we cannot face the implications that would arise, the darkness and the cold”, says Potter in a similar context.
And Stephen Downes’ response to this dilemma is difficult to understand: recognition! Two Catalan authors asked the ancient paradox question: How can we recognize a pattern if we do not already know that a specific configuration of connections is a pattern? His response is concise: “what makes something a ‘pattern’ is the fact that it is recognized by neural nets.” So we are still left with the problem of “recognition”.
I think that knowledge as recognition is easier to understand when we consider McGilchrist’s two modes. All news is first processed by one of them. But once it is recognized, it “feels” totally different because then it is stored by the other mode. At the very moment it is recognized, it becomes knowledge, and then the term recognizing makes no more sense for it. Similarly, all the notions of gradual, slow emergence of such patterns, or of “seeing” them, makes no more sense for the explicit knowledge now extant. This is, IMHO, why it is so difficult to make sense of the simple process of recognizing.
Thanks to G. Reinmann for pointing to Potter’s essay.