A defence of constructionism: philosophy as conceptual engineering

L. Floridi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


This article offers an account and defence of constructionism, both as a metaphilosophical approach and as a philosophical methodology, with references to the so-called maker's knowledge tradition. Its main thesis is that Plato's "user's knowledge" tradition should be complemented, if not replaced, by a constructionist approach to philosophical problems in general and to knowledge in particular. Epistemic agents know something when they are able to build (reproduce, simulate, model, construct, etc.) that something and plug the obtained information into the correct network of relations that account for it. Their epistemic expertise increases with the scope and depth of the questions that they are able to ask and answer. Thus, constructionism deprioritises mimetic, passive, and declarative knowledge that something is the case, in favour of poietic, interactive, and practical knowledge of something being the case. Metaphilosophically, constructionism suggests adding conceptual engineering to conceptual analysis as a fundamental method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-304
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • constructionism
  • constructivism
  • epistemology
  • levels of abstraction
  • minimalism
  • philosophy of information


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