Review Essay: Constructivism is the Invention of a Critic


  • Ralf Ottermann Agentur für Praxissoziologie Frankfurt am Main



constructivism, dialogue, labeling, communication, hermeneutics, culture, truth, objectivity, responsibility


The world, as we perceive it, is our own invention, so we always invent and never discover realities. This main thesis is grounded on neurophysiological research. But how radical then is FOERSTER's constructivism "really"? Is it not also an empirical as well as a social constructivism plus some realism in it, too? And what shall we do with such academic questions if "the way in which a question is asked determines the way in which an answer may be found"? The physicist and philosopher Heinz von FOERSTER and the journalist and communication scientist Bernhard PÖRKSEN talk about the sensual perception of human beings and the borders of our capacity for knowledge, communication and understanding. They debate about truth, objectivity and responsibility and discuss the connections between knowledge, ethics and practice. I have been enriched of some of the aphorisms, anecdotes and aporias, still, I am not able to answer the questions asked above conclusively. The book is interesting for people who love sophistic conversations, but it is not very helpful for qualitative social research. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs050330


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Author Biography

Ralf Ottermann, Agentur für Praxissoziologie Frankfurt am Main

Ralf OTTERMANN, Dr. phil., M.A. Studium der Soziologie, Psychologie und Philosophie. Berufstätigkeiten: Soziologische Lehre und Forschung, Sozialwissenschaftliche Beratung, Psychosoziale und Sozialpädagogische Betreuung. Arbeitsschwerpunkte: Soziale Probleme, Abweichendes Verhalten und Soziale Kontrolle. In FQS finden sich zwei weitere Besprechungen von Ralf OTTERMANN zu: "Kriminalsoziologie" ( (EIFLER 2002) und zu "Strich. Soziologie eines Milieus" ( 2004).



How to Cite

Ottermann, R. (2005). Review Essay: Constructivism is the Invention of a Critic. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(3).