GRUNTh and metatheory (Beverley Walker's response)

Don Munro (
Tue, 8 Nov 1994 18:35:10 +1100

>Dear all,
>I've sometimes wondered as I've waded through this GUT discussion whether the
>distinction between theory and metatheory might not help clarify some of the
>crossed wires. Kelly's theory is seemingly unique as psychological theories
>go in offering both. It is a theory about people-in-relation and a theory
>about the nature of theories. As such it is a Grand Unifying Theory, if not


As one of those who stirred everyone up (inadvertently!), I agree entirely.
The sort of "theory" I talked about, and which I published, is basically a
tree to hang other theories on, so that one can relate them to one another
even if they are "incommensurable", to use Feyerabend's word. So there is
no reason why Kelly and Skinner and others could not coexist there.

However, what I am trying to figure out from the discussion is whether
people are saying that such a metatheory is a positivistic notion, and
whether that might be a valid argument. I am happy to believe that Skinner
and Churchland and others discovered part of the truth, and Kelly another
part, but none of them discovered the whole truth (nor is any metatheory
the whole truth, even if it unifies all other known truths), but is that
belief itself a product of the mind of an unreconstructed positivist? Or
is metatheory the royal road to constructive alternativism?


Don Munro, Ph.D. |Telephone (Office Secretary)

Senior Lecturer and Head of Department |(049) 215935 Home (049) 264607
Department of Psychology |[International +61 49 215935/264607]
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"Full optimism is a lack of information. Full pessimism is a lack of
imagination". Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Melbourne, October 1994.