Chapter

Observers, Participants, and Agents in Discourses: A Consideration of Pragmatist and Constructivist Theories of The Observer

Kersten Reich

in John Dewey Between Pragmatism and Constructivism

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230181
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235339 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823230181.003.0006

Series: American Philosophy

Observers, Participants, and Agents               in Discourses: A Consideration of Pragmatist and Constructivist Theories of The               Observer

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This chapter examines the distinction among observers, participants, and agents from the perspective of the Cologne program of interactive constructivism. It first examines an exemplary discourse on the nonscientific theme of “beauty” using the evil stepmother in “Snow White” as an example. It discusses this theme from the perspective of interactive constructivism and interprets it as a problem between universalist and anti-universalist approaches. The chapter then demonstrates numerous connections between constructivism and Dewey's Pragmatic theory of inquiry. Dewey, for example, had already distinguished spectators, agents, and participants, even though he did not articulate those distinctions in a systematic way. This chapter follows upon Dewey's insights, suggesting ways in which a constructivist theory of observation can enrich contemporary Pragmatist arguments.

Keywords: observers; participants; agents; beauty; Snow White; universalist approach; Pragmatism; interactive constructivism

Chapter.  13029 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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