Category Archives: Biblio

Higher Education as public good- Perspectives for the Centenary of the Declaration of Cordoba

Professor Marco Antonio Rodrigues Dias

Former director of the Division of Higher Education, in UNESCO, Paris (1981 to 1999).

The Association of Universities Group of Montevideo –AUGM- just launched, in Spanish, together with the Universidad de la República (Montevideo) the book “Enseñanza superior como bien público: perspectivas para el centenario de la Declaración de Córdoba”.

The printed Portuguese version will be launched soon.

An English version is being edited to be disseminated trough Internet.

International Handbook on Adult and Lifelong Education and Learning

Editors: Milana, M., Webb, S., Holford, J., Waller, R., Jarvis, P. (Eds.)

Palgrave Macmillan, October 2017

This Handbook provides a wide-ranging frame of reference for researching adult and lifelong education and learning. With contributions from scores of established and newer scholars from six continents, the volume covers a diverse range of geopolitical and social territories across the world.

Drawing on the multiple  heritages that underpin research on education and learning in adulthood, this Handbook addresses the inner tensions between adult education, adult learning, lifelong education, and lifelong learning, by using current research and theorizations from disciplinary  backgrounds, including philosophy, psychology, biology and neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, history, political science, and economics. It provides an explicit discussion of the differences and tensions between adult and lifelong education and learning, and locates these in different policy and historical contexts, theories and practices. It explores a variety of discipline-based theoretical perspectives, and highlights how these have influenced, and been influenced by, research in the education and learning of adults. The Handbook also explores the inevitable frictions and dilemmas these present, and carefully examines the role of the international dimension in researching education and learning in formal, non-formal and informal contexts, beyond traditional schooling.

This state-of-the-art, comprehensive Handbook is the first of its kind to explore adult education, lifelong education and lifelong learning fully as distinct activities on an international scale. It will be an indispensable reference resource for students of education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and for academic researchers, professionals and policy-makers concerned with adult and community education, further and vocational education, or work-based training and human resource development.

Constructivism : a comprehensive bibliography

Michael Robert Matthews on Constructivism
n Science, Philosophy and Education


From Alfonso Lizarzaburu

It is a great pleasure to share with you the bibliography that I have prepared with the work of one of the greatest specialists on constructivism: Michael R. Matthews, honorary associate professor in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia.

Michael is Foundation editor (1990-2014) of the journal Science & Education: Contributions from the History and Philosophy of Science and editor of the HPS&ST Newsletter/Note since 1987. He has degrees from the University of Sidney in Geology, Psychology, Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science, and Education. His PhD in philosophy of education is from UNSW.

In August 2016 I started to prepare a very extensive bibliography on constructivism (English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish).

Doing this joyful travel I discovered the extraordinary quality and extent of Michael’s contribution in this domain.

I decided then to start publishing his work because I do really think he is an extraordinary guide to know the constructivist landscape on Philosophy, Science and Education.

The influence of constructivism during the last fifty years is overwhelming. In one of his articles he says:

Indeed constructivism has become education’s version of the ‘grand unified theory’.

And in chapter 8 of his book Science Teaching: The contribution of History and Philosophy of Science (New York: Routledge, 2015) he says:

Constructivism as a theory of knowledge and learning has been the major theoretical influence in contemporary science and mathematics education; and in its post-modernist and deconstructionist form, it is a significant influence in contemporary mathematics, literary, artistic, social studies and religious education. Its impact is evident in theoretical debates, curriculum construction, and pedagogical practice in all of these subjects. Constructivism as a psychological, educational and philosophical orientation fuels the learner-centered, teacher as-facilitator, localist, ‘progressive’ side of the educational maths wars, phonics debates, and discovery learning disputes.

It is necessary to know that there are many different points of view and approaches to what constructivism is and how they have been developed by different authors.

Thanks to my friend and maestro Mario A. Bunge, Michael knew that I was preparing a bibliography on constructivism and he sent me a first message on 4 September 2016.

I sent him a draft of the bibliographic file on his work to which he replied on 11 September 2016 saying:

Thank you for your note and your most comprehensive bibliographic file. I have never seen my work aggregated in such an informative way.

He made some corrections and some additions, and I appreciate very much his contribution.

Almost at the end of his message, Michael said:

I will attach for you the Constructivism chapter from my 2015 Routledge book that will give you some idea of my appraisal of the position. I believe its adoption throughout the world as official educational policy […] is a disaster.

Nonetheless, at the end of the same article mentioned above he says:

But the interactive, anti-dogmatic teaching practices supported by constructivism need not be abandoned. […] In brief, what is good in constructivism has long been known in philosophy and in the liberal tradition of education, and that what is novel in constructivism is misguided and dangerous to both education and society.

Why does he think this?

You will find the answer reading his extraordinary contribution during the last 40 years.


Bunge Mario, Between Two Worlds

Memoirs of a Philosopher-Scientist

Springer Editions

To go through the pages of the Autobiography of Mario Bunge is to accompany him through dozens of countries and examine the intellectual, political, philosophical and scientific spheres of the last hundred years. It is an experience that oscillates between two different worlds: the different and the similar, the professional and the personal.

It is an established fact that one of his great loves was, and still is, science. He has always been dedicated to scientific work, teaching, research, and training men and women in multiple disciplines.  Life lessons fall like ripe fruit from this book, bringing us closer to a concept, a philosophical idea, a scientific digression, which had since been uncovered in numerous notes, articles or books.

Bunge writes about the life experiences in this book with passion, naturalness and with a colloquial frankness, whether they be persecutions, banishment, imprisonment, successes, would-be losses, emotions, relationships, debates, impressions or opinions about people or things.

In his pages we pass by the people with whom he shared a fruitful century of achievements and incredible depths of thought. Everything is remembered with sincerity and humor.

This autobiography is, in truth, Bunge on Bunge, sharing everything that passes through the sieve of his memory, as he would say.

Mario’s many grandchildren are a testament to his proud standing as a family man, and at the age of 96 he gives us a book for everyone: for those who value the memories that hold the trauma of his life as well as for those who share his passion for science and culture. Also, perhaps, for some with whom he has had disagreements or coonntroversy, for he still deserves recognition for being a staunch defender of his convictions.”

Book Review by Michael R. Mattews :

For more books of Mario Bunge, see Book selection

Wiley-Blackwell Collection Great Myths of Psychology

From Alfonso Lizarzaburu

Three years ago I discovered this Wiley-Blackwell Collection Great Myths of Psychology, directed by Scott O. LILIENFELD and Steven Jay LYNN.

            Having finished reading the third volume, I was so enriched that I considered convenient to share with you the presentation of three books of the collection. Why? The best answer to this question is the excerpts I transcribe from the “Preface” to the 1st edition of LILIENFELD, Scott O., Steven Jay LYNN, John RUSCIO, and Barry L. BEYERSTEIN, 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior:

Virtually every day, the news media, television shows and films, and the Internet bombard us with claims regarding a host of psychological topics–brain functioning, psychics, out-of-body experiences, recovered memories, polygraph testing, romantic relationships, parenting, child sexual abuse, mental disorders, real crime, and psychotherapy, to name merely a few. Even a casual stroll through our neighborhood bookstore reveals at least dozens, and often hundreds, of self-help, relationship, recovery, and addiction books that serve up generous portions of advice for steering our path along life’s rocky road. Of course, for those who prefer their psychological advice for free, there’s no end of it on the Web. In countless ways, the popular psychology industry shapes the landscape of the early 21st century world.
Yet to a surprising extent, much of what we believe to be true about psychology isn’t. Although scores of popular psychology sources are readily available in bookstores and at our fingertips online, they’re rife with myths and misconceptions. Indeed, in today’s fast-paced world of information overload, misinformation about psychology is at least as widespread as accurate information. Unfortunately, precious few books are available to assist us with the challenging task of distinguishing fact from fiction in popular psychology. As a consequence, we often find ourselves at the mercy of self-help gurus, television talk show hosts, and radio self-proclaimed mental health experts, many of whom dispense psychological advice that’s a confusing mix of truths, half-truths, and outright falsehoods. Without a dependable tour guide for sorting out psychological myth from reality, we’re at risk for becoming lost in a jungle of misconceptions.
Many of the great myths of popular psychology not only mislead us about human nature, but can also lead us to make unwise decisions in our everyday lives. […]

Great Myths of Education and Learning (Eng), Great Myths of the Brain(Eng,Spa), 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Hum an Behavior (Eng, Spa)


Branko Milanović: Global Inequality. A New Approach for the Age of Globalization

From Alfonso Lizarzaburu

On January 2016 I had the opportunity to read the OXFAM report An Economy for the 1%. How privilege and power in the economy drive extreme inequality and how this can be stopped.  

The report “shows that the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population has fallen by a trillion dollars since 2010, a drop of 38 percent. This has occurred despite the global population increasing by around 400 million people during that period. Meanwhile, the wealth of the richest 62 has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76tr. The report also shows how women are disproportionately affected by inequality – of the current ‘62’, 53 are men and just nine are women”.

“Although world leaders have increasingly talked about the need to tackle inequality, and in September agreed a global goal to reduce it, the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months. Oxfam’s prediction, made ahead of last year’s Davos, that the 1% would soon own more than the rest of us, actually came true in 2015 – a year earlier than expected”.

Last week I received and read Branko Milanović’s last book Global Inequality. A New Approach for the Age of Globalization (April 2016).

Milanović is one of the world’s leading economists of inequality (Thomas Piketty) and in this book “continues his lifelong investigation into the past, present and future of inequality, within and between nations, and in the world as a whole” (Angus Deaton).

As underlined by Joseph Stiglitz, “continuing with his extraordinarily important work on the empirics of global inequality, Branko Milanović in this book expands on that work to lay the basis for a more theoretical understanding of the evolution of inequality. The current situation and its tendency have profound political implications.

Are we sitting down on a time bomb?

Milanović says in a nuanced way that “It is hard to imagine that a system with such high inequality could be politically stable. […] If the losers remain disorganized and subject to false consciousness, not much will change. If they do organize themselves and find political champions who could tap into their resentment and get their votes, then it might be possible for the rich countries to put into place policies that would set them on the downward path of the second Kuznets wave. How could this be achieved? (p. 217)

Given the dramatically importance of this subject, I decided to share with you this presentation of Branko Milanović’s work and more specifically of his last book.

Enjoy it very much!

001 Milanovic Branko Global Inequality EngFreSpaEnd 160701

Ubuntu: “I am because you are”

Special Issue. Rediscovering the Ubuntu paradigm in Education, Journal of Lifelong Learning 62, No 1, 2016, Springer

“There could hardly be a greater contrast than between Decartes’contextless mentalist individualism in Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) and the African contextually pregnant, social constructivist relationalism of umuntu umuntu babantu (I am because you are) (Avenstrup 1997. p. 4).”

“Although writing from an African (and more specifically a South African) perspective, Letseka stresses that the ubuntu ethic of caring and sharing can also be found in various Eurasian philosophies. He finds similarities between ubuntu and the German concept “Bildung”2 , whose key advocate was the German philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835). For Humboldt, Bildung requires interchange between individuals. Bildung starts with the individual embedded in a world that is at the same time that of the differentiated other (Lovlie and Standish 2002, p. 380).

In a paper presented at the conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (C1ES) in Washington DC in March 2015, Thomas Luschei (2015)3 introduced the concept of “convivencia” (peaceful coexistence) as a framework for re-centring education as a moral enterprise. In his paper he discusses convivencia within the context of education and society in Colombia, paying special attention to the Colombian rural school model Escuela Nueva (New School). He discusses several facets of convivencia and finds a number of parallels with the ideas and ideals of ubuntu.

Letseka (2012) points out that the Manifesto on Values, Education and Democracy of the South African Department of Education (DoE 2001, p. 12) identifies ten fundamental values in the South African constitution that pertain to education. These are: democracy, social justice and equity, equality, non-racism and non-sexism, ubuntu (here defined as human dignity), an open society, accountability, the rule of law, respect and reconciliation. The report states that ubuntu denotes mutual understanding and the active appreciation of the value of human difference (DoE 2001, p. 14).

2 There is no good English translation of the German word “Bildung“. Often the word is therefore used in its German original form even in texts otherwise in English. Bildung is something more than and different from “education”. While the word “education” normally leads our thoughts in the direction of formal schooling, this is not the case with Bildung. A person with Bildung may be self-educated and not have any formal education; but she or he is likely to have refined manners, knowledge and generosity. According to Wilhelm von Humboldt, the purpose of Bildung is to unite the individual and culture in a rich, free and harmonious interplay.”

See :

Nietzsche et la critique de la Bildung

1870-72 : les enjeux métaphysiques de la question de la formation de l’homme


UNESCO: Level-setting and recognition of learning outcomes

The use of level descriptors in the twenty-first century

James Keevy and Borhene Chakroun, UNESCO, 2015
The book includes a comprehensive review of the most current developments in this field. The findings are unique in that they provide for the first time a comprehensive overview of the different ways in which learning is recognized in contemporary education and training systems.
More importantly, this study provides key insights into how learning may be recognized in the future. The effort by the authors to map the field, supported by eminent experts from across the globe, is commendable and offers an important basis for the work of UNESCO in this area. Given the diversity of contexts, it is remarkable how many countries around the world are using qualifications frameworks to facilitate the recognition of learning outcomes within a broader lifelong learning perspective.

KOMLOS, J., KELLY I., The Oxford Handbook of Economics and Human Biology

Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. xiv + 834. Cf.:

The Oxford Handbook of Economics and Human Biology provides an extensive and insightful overview of how economic conditions affect human well-being and how human health influences economic outcomes.

Among the topics explored are how variations in height, whether over time, among different socio-economic groups, and in different locations, are important indicators of changes in economic growth and economic development, levels of economic inequality, and economic opportunities for individuals.

The book covers a broad geographic range: Africa, Latin and North America, Asia, and Europe. Its temporal scope ranges from the late Iron Age to the present.

Taking advantage of recent improvements in data and economic methods, the book also explores how humans’ biological conditions influence and are influenced by their economic circumstances, including poverty.

Among the issues addressed are how height, body mass index (BMI), and obesity can affect and are affected by productivity, wages, and wealth. How family environment affects health and well-being is examined, as is the importance of both pre-birth and early childhood conditions for subsequent economic outcomes.

Reflecting this dynamic and expanding area of research, the volume shows that well-being is a salient aspect of economics, and the new toolkit of evidence from biological living standards enhances understanding of industrialization, commercialization, income distribution, the organization of health care, social status, and the redistributive state affect such human attributes as physical stature, weight, and the obesity epidemic in historical and contemporary populations.