The Open UniversitySkip to content

On the actualities and possibilities of constructionism: towards deep empiricism

Stenner, Paul (2009). On the actualities and possibilities of constructionism: towards deep empiricism. Human Affairs: Postdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences Quarterly, 19(2) pp. 194–210.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available (Accepted Manuscript)
Due to publisher licensing restrictions, this file is not available for public download
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Drawing from the example of critical psychology, this paper examines how dissatisfaction with an existing scientific paradigm can stimulate interest in philosophy and social theory. The emergence of a social constructionist understanding of scientific knowledge in prominent dialects of critical psychology is related to a combination of scientific and political concerns, and briefly set in the context of three important strands of twentieth century philosophy: existential hermeneutics, ordinary language philosophy and poststructuralism. These strands agree on at least two issues: the rejection of metaphysics and the ontological foregrounding of the notion of discourse or language-in-use. These philosophies have influenced the development of discursive methods and constructionist epistemologies in special sciences such as psychology and sociology. It is suggested, however, that both the commitment against metaphysics and the prioritising of discourse are problematic, and that a process metaphysics based on the three pillars of possibility, mediation and actuality (or pattern, matrix and activity) might be articulated in order to overcome the bifurcation of nature tacitly accepted by the commitment to a discursive ontology.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2009 Institute for Research in Social Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 1210-3055
Keywords: p/m grammar distinction; social constructionism; constructivist metaphysics; potentiality; actuality.
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology and Counselling > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology and Counselling
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 30127
Depositing User: Paul Stenner
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2011 14:14
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2019 00:15
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU