Stephen Downes: We don't reason over perceptions or construct meaning, etc- there's no mechanism to do that - rather, we gradually become better recognizers
Gerrit Wissing: I get the bit after 'rather'. Won't you please explain what you mean by the bit before..?
Stephen Downes: The basic constructivist premise (and I mean constructivists generally, not just those working in education) is that learning and discovery proceeds by the creation or models or representations off reality, and then carrying out operations in these representations. Usually these representations are created using a symbol system - language, mathematics, universal grammar, etc - composed of ssigns and rules for manipulation. We create meaning or sense in these representations by means of a semiotic system - a way of assigning meaning to individual symbols, phrases, groups of symbols, or entire models, sometimes by reference, sometimes by coherence, etc. (note that there are many different variations on this common theme). These representations are easy to find in the world - we can see instances of language and mathematics, for example, in any book. But the theory argues that we also have these systems in our minds - that we actually reason in our heads by means of these representations, and hence that learning means constructing these representations and assigning meaning to their symbolic entities. Cf. for example the 'physical symbol system' hypothesis. What I am arguing is that this position is wrong. That even if we construct representations in our mind, there is no distinct entity over and above the representation that does the constructing, manipulation, or sense-making. Therefore, we do not learn in this way.