PhD Thesis by Farshad Badie: A Theoretical Model for Meaning Construction through Constructivist Concept Learning

PhD Thesis by Farshad Badie: A Theoretical Model for Meaning Construction through Constructivist Concept Learning

The central focus of this Ph.D. research is on ‘Logic and Cognition’ and, more specifically, this research covers five academic areas: Logic and Logical Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, Educational Psychology, Cognitive Science and Computer Science.

A Theoretical Model for Meaning Construction through Constructivist Concept Learning - A Conceptual, Terminological, Logical and Semantic Study within Human-Human-Machine Interaction

The central focus of this Ph.D. research is on ‘Logic and Cognition’ and, more specifically, this research covers the quintuple (Logic and Logical Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, Educational Psychology, Cognitive Science, Computer Science). The most significant contributions of this Ph.D. dissertation are conceptual, logical, terminological, and semantic analysis of Constructivist Concept Learning (specifically, in the context of humans’ interactions with their environment and with other agents). This dissertation is concerned with the specification of the conceptualisation of the phenomena of ‘learning’, ‘mentoring’, and ‘knowledge’ within learning and knowledge acquisition systems. In this research, the phenomena of ‘learning’ and ‘mentoring’ are interpreted as active processes of ‘knowledge construction’. Accordingly, this interpretation has provided the most considerable
presupposition of further developments. Constructivism as an epistemology and as a model of knowing and, respectively as a theoretical model of learning builds up the central framework of this research.

The most significant question that I have tried to focus on is “How one’s constructed concepts could be followed by her/his own constructed meanings and, accordingly, by her/his meaningful understandings?”. Consequently, relying on the framework of constructivism, the major objectives of this dissertation are as follows:

  • Conceptualisation and characterisation of concepts in humans’ minds and in machines’ knowledge bases.
  • Conceptualisation of humans’ concept construction processes and,correspondingly, of logical descriptions and of formal analysis of concept constructions.
  • Conceptualisation of humans’ conceptions that are produced in order to express their constructed concepts.
  • Conceptual, logical, and terminological analysis of concept representation in both humans’ minds and in machines’ knowledge bases.
  • Conceptual, logical, and terminological analysis of human concept understanding, or equivalently, understandings over constructed concepts and produced conceptions.
  • Conceptualisation, logical, and terminological description/analysis and formal[-semantic] analysis of concept learning (by human beings and by machines metaphorically understood as learners) and their interconnections.

Another important question that I have tackled to focus on is “How knowledge may reasonably and logically be assumed to be constructed by a learner in the framework of constructivism and, also, in the context of her/his interactions?”. This question is highly relevant to the learners who are at their elementary, high school, and undergraduate levels of studies. Note that the HowNess and the quality of knowledge construction varies from learner to learner. This attribute is heavily concerned with any individual learner’s mental models of her/his knowings. Accordingly, it shall be stressed that there is a strong dependency between the phenomenon of ‘knowledge’and ‘any individual learner’s mental models of knowings’.

My proposed theoretical model is strongly dependent on my ideas of the concepts of ‘classification’ and ‘induction’. It means that my theoretical model expresses that learners’ reasoning processes are mainly structured over their mental abilities of
classification and induction. Subsequently, the expression ‘concept learning’ will be analysed based upon classification and induction.

According to this dissertation, any human being becomes concerned with her/his specification(s) of her/his own conceptualisation through concept learning processes. It shall be stressed that there are, obviously, no compelling reasons to claim that
concept learning must necessarily be structured based on the processes supported by constructivism. I do, though, strongly believe that there is an epistemological junction between ‘constructivism’ and ‘concept learning’. In fact, in my opinion,

  • constructivism could provide a proper supportive base for description of concept construction processes, and
  • constructivism, as an epistemology, could support so-called ‘constructivist concept learning’, if it is seen as an individual’s conditional reasoning in a learning and a pedagogical context.

It shall be emphasised that this research has mainly focused on constructivist concept learning by ‘human beings’. A few of my publications—which are included in this thesis—have had contributions in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and human-machine interactions, but it shall be drawn into consideration that those publications’ central focuses have been on human beings. Actually, their contributions have been on the terminological, logical, and semantic analysis of constructivist ‘training’ with regard to humans’ conceptions of their mental constructed concepts. In more technical words, this dissertation has not dealt with the HowNess of adaptation and conformation of machines and machines’ knowledge bases to human beings and their minds. It has, though, been concerned with the transformation of humans’ conceptions from their minds into machines’ knowledge bases as well as ontological descriptions in information systems.

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About Farshad Badie