By Erasmo Calzadilla
While several of the current directions in philosophy excite me, the one I know somewhat better is Radical Constructionism.
I like it precisely for the fact that it centers its attention not on investigating what reality is, but on how we are constructing it without even realizing that we are. I find this to be a position that is much clearer and less innocuous, after centuries of proposing that reality is this or that.
When understanding ourselves as being co-creators of reality, we move away from a position of passive and alienated consumers of that reality to become conscious actors in the universe in which we live.
Here I perceive the same determined effort against alienation that encouraged Marx when he alerted workers that the picture-window commodities they revered were the results of their own labor, and the revolution would happen only when they realized this.
I added that all of us are workers included in the categories that we employ, such as the category of matter itself. In short, I believe philosophy, like Marx’s work, is thus an effort in search of greater prominence and responsibility for people in the face of their reality. I emphasize matter because – according to the “Marxism” that I had to teach because Lenin discovered it – matter was precisely that which lies beyond our process of cognitive construction, that which exists independently of whether or not we are aware of it.
However, in the case of consciousness, once one thinks something they cannot consider it as not having been thought about. This is something that philosophy understood almost from its very beginning. Since I was in the heart of an institution with very strict demands about how to teach philosophy and which philosophy to teach, I was supported in my course by a proposition of Lenin.
He outlined that matter has as one of its essential properties the capacity to reflect reality, and that this reflection would be more effective and more complex to the same extent that matter ascended toward more complex forms of organization.
Avoiding such ontologicalization of the category of matter, I developed a short course in which I included cognitive, theoretical, biological and practical tools employed in an integral and progressive way in the construction of reality. These earned humankind, in ever-increasing increments, conscious participation and consciousness in their participation in the end product: our world.