Constructive realism

Constructive realism is a branch of philosophy, specifically the philosophy of science. It was developed in the late 1950s by Jane Loevinger and elaborated in the 1980s by Friedrich Wallner (also Fritz Wallner) in Vienna. In his paper abstract on constructive realism, Wallner describes it as follows:

"Traditional convictions regarding science (such as universalism, necessity and eternal validity) are currently in doubt. Relativism seems to destroy scientific claims to rationality. This paper shows a way to keep the traditional convictions of scientific knowledge while acknowledging relativism. With reference to the practicing scientist, we replace descriptivism with constructivism; we modify relative validity with the claim to understanding; and, we offer methodological strategies for acquiring understanding. These strategies we call strangification, which means taking a scientific proposition system out of its context and putting it in another context. We can thus see the implicit presuppositions of the given proposition system by means of the problems arising out of the application of this procedure. Such a change in the understanding of science holds important consequences."

Within the philosophy of measurement, Jane Loevinger [1] described the relation between a construct (scientific model or construction of reality) and the reality itself. Now referred to as "Construct Realism", recognized chiefly in philosophy of measurement (psychometrics), Loevinger's view is expressed in the following quote in the context of real human traits (cognitive and/or behavioral patterns that tend to occur together):

"A dictionary (122) definition of construct is: "Something constructed; specif., Psychol., an intellectual synthesis." In the present paper both construct and trait are used in their general or dictionary meanings. Connotations of depth, level, or locus are specifically disclaimed. Traits exist in people; constructs (here usually about traits) exist in the minds and magazines of psychologists. People have constructs too, but that is outside the present scope. Construct connotes construction and artifice; yet what is at issue is validity with respect to exactly what the psychologist does not construct: the validity of the test as a measure of traits which exist prior to and independently of the psychologist's act of measuring. It is true that psychologists never know traits directly but only through the glass of their constructs, but the data to be judged are manifestations of traits, not manifestations of constructs. Cronbach and Meehl and their colleagues on the APA committee appear reluctant to assign reality to constructs or traits. Considering traits as real is, in the present view, a working stance and not a philosophical tenet." [Italics added]
"That the distinction made here between traits and constructs is free of metaphysical implications is seen by comparing it to the familiar distinction between parameter and statistic. The parameter is what we aim to estimate; the corresponding statistic represents our current best estimate of it. Just so, the trait is what we aim to understand, and the corresponding construct represents our current best understanding of it. The distinction between trait and construct can be dispensed with no better than the distinction between parameter and statistic."

See also


  1. ^ Loevinger, J. (1957). Objective Tests As Instruments of Psychological Theory. Psychological Reports, 3, 635-694. Southern Universities Press.
Arturo Carsetti

Arturo Carsetti is an Italian Philosopher of sciences and former Professor of philosophy of science at the University of Bari and the University of Rome Tor Vergata. He is the editor of the Italian Journal for the philosophy of science La Nuova Critica founded in 1957 by Valerio Tonini. He is notable for his contributions, also as a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, to philosophy of science, epistemology, cognitive science and philosophy of mind.

Edward Gleason Spaulding

Edward Gleason Spaulding (6 August 1873 – 31 January 1940) was an American philosopher from Burlington, Vermont. He is a proponent of New Realism and co-wrote The New Realism.

Hans Lenk

Hans Lenk (born 23 March 1935) is a German rower who competed for the United Team of Germany in the 1960 Summer Olympics, and an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy. He was born in Berlin.

In 1960, he was a crew member of the West German boat which won the gold medal in the eights event.

Index of philosophy of science articles

An index list of articles about the philosophy of science.

Indigenous psychology

Indigenous psychology is defined by Kim and Berry (1993) as "the scientific study of human behavior or mind that is native, that is not transported from other regions, and that is designed for its people." Indigenous psychology generally advocates examining knowledge, skills and beliefs people have about themselves and studying them in their natural contexts. Theories, concepts and methods are developed to correspond with psychological phenomena. Indigenous psychology explicitly advocates for incorporating both the content and the context of research. Indigenous psychology is considered necessary since existing psychological theories are not necessarily universal, and may often represent the psychology and cultural traditions of Europe and North America.

"Indigenous psychology seeks to discover how the cultural views, theories, assumptions and classifications coupled with overarching social institutions influence psychological topics in each respective culture (2007). Indigenous psychologies are rooted in the systematic influences of formal, political and educational institutions as well as social factors that have and will continue to change the state of psychology. These psychologies grow out of the basic, political, economic, religious, and social components of each culture (Lawson, Graham and Baker, 2007). Indigenous psychologies usually use two distinct categories of psychological knowledge; scientific and applied knowledge reflected in scientific and professional psychology. Many indigenous countries prioritize these two categories usually based on the application of psychological knowledge to overcome challenges facing their culture, such as strengthening education, employment, health, population control and religious conflict rather than attempting to fund new scientific research with limited resources (2007).

János Mattis-Teutsch

János Mattis-Teutsch or Máttis-Teutsch, Mátis-Teutsch (IPA: [ˈjaːnoʃ ˈmɒtːiʃ ˈtʰɔʏ̯t͡ʃ]; the most common Hungarian-language versions of his name, all of which have also been spelled without the hyphen; his first name has been rendered as Hans or Johannes in German and Ioan in Romanian; 13 August 1884–17 March 1960) was a Hungarian painter, sculptor, graphic artist, art critic, and poet. Best known for his Seelenblumen ("Soulflowers") cycle of paintings, he was an important contributor to the development of modern art and avant-garde trends inside Romania (where he spent the larger part of his life). He was the grandfather of the artist Waldemar Mattis-Teutsch.

Khosrow Bagheri

Khosrow Bagheri Noaparast (in Persian: خسرو باقری نوع پرست) is an Iranian philosopher, educational theorist and the president of Philosophy of Education Society of Iran (PESI).

Michael Krausz

Michael Krausz (born 1942) is a Swiss-born American philosopher as well as an artist and orchestral conductor. His philosophical works focus on the theory of interpretation, theory of knowledge, philosophy of science, philosophy of history, and philosophy of art and music. Krausz is Milton C. Nahm Professor of Philosophy at Bryn Mawr College, and he teaches Aesthetics at the Curtis Institute of Music. He has taught at University of Toronto and has been visiting professor at American University, Georgetown University, Oxford University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, American University in Cairo, University of Nairobi, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and University of Ulm, among others. Krausz is the co-founder (with Joseph Margolis) and former Chair of the fourteen-institution Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium.

Werner Leinfellner

Werner Leinfellner (January 27, 1921 – April 6, 2010) was professor of philosophy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and at the Vienna University of Technology. After recovering from life-threatening wounds during World War II, he studied chemistry and physics at the Universities of Vienna and Graz, eventually turning to the study of the philosophy of science, and receiving his Ph.D. in 1959. He moved to the United States in 1967, in part, because of problems faced by empirically oriented philosophers in obtaining academic positions in Austria and Germany. He is notable for his contributions to philosophy of science, as a member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts, for founding the journal Theory and Decision, for co-founding Theory and Decision Library, and for co-founding the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society and International Wittgenstein Symposium.

William C. Wimsatt

William C. Wimsatt (born May 27, 1941) is professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy, the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science (previously Conceptual Foundations of Science), and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. He is currently a Winton Professor of the Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota and Residential Fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science. He specializes in the philosophy of biology, where his areas of interest include reductionism, heuristics, emergence, scientific modeling, heredity, and cultural evolution.

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