Traces of Radical Constructivism in Literary Scholarship

Roman Mikuláš

The study is composed as some remarks on the project of implication of radical constructivism in the literary scholarship. Immanuel Kant, Wilhelm Dilthey, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jean Piaget, fathers of constructivism, have always been present in the literary thinking. However, they have always been present also in psychiatry, physics, mathematics and biology. Thus, this is a brief outline of constructivism as a cognitive theory and epistemologic basis of constructivist literary, whose essential thesis claims all the utterances involving reality are utterances about experience. Empirical knowledge is operational, resulting from the experience with orientation activities. Experience is the framework of knowledge, i. e. experience is based on forming operational strategies of one's own cognitive system. The empirical knowledge is the one we share with other people. Empirical theories such as radical constructivism explain the formation of knowledge as a correlative structure based on experience with a certain phenomenon. This means we are not able to observe the characteristics of the objects, but only abilities and possibilities of cognitive systems.

In constructivist literary scholarship, text is viewed as a symptom of parallel constructing of the orientation space, which clearly shows the abnormality of searching for intentions in the text. This results in different legitimization of the scholarship, its main focus being put on optimalization of communicative experience. This is connected with the shift form the ontological tasks to operational tasks.

The point of critique in the constructivist literary scholarship was also interpretation practice, whose main focus was to interpret, to explain the text. The constructivist literary scholarship defines the text as a cognitive and social mechanism of selection of desired modes of thinking and actions, as a means of control. The radical asset of this conception lies in the fact that it acts exclusively as an empirical approach.

Keywords: Radical Constructivism. Solipsism and Omnipsism. Empirical Theory of Literature. Cognitive Literary Scholarship. Problem of Interpretation. Function, Structure and Construction of Orientation Spaces.