Re: straw poll, go on, read me read me

Jack Adams-Webber (
Wed, 16 Nov 94 14:03:47 -0500

>**TARAAAH! Announcing the uni-versal, bi-variate, mono-chromic**
> **but poly-valent EPISTEMOLOGICAL STRAW POLL!**
>Put together for your distraction by Devi Jankowicz, Jack Adams-Webber, and
>Jim Mancuso, over the aether without benefit of alcohol, the only sprit
>involved being one of curiosity and enquiry *.
>Ok chaps, the rest of this mailing is serious.
>Recent mailings in our pcp mailing list have shown that the list is useful
>for the rehearsal of some fairly basic epistemological positions, as well
>as its function in exchanging information items concerning pcp and its
>We felt it might be interesting to explore contributors' basic assumptions,
>and would like each reader to spend just 5 minutes responding to these 5
>questionnaire items.
>Please respond to <> in the first instance; I promise
>to mail a collated set of your responses in to <pcp@mailbase> in 2 weeks'
>time, as an item of general interest.
>Please just answer by means of (Question number: single number/letter/date
>answer), in each case, to make collation straightforward and easy. That
>imples that elaborations to your answers might perhaps wait for after the
>collated results have been fed back, pretty please?
>Right, here goes:
>1. Where would you place your own epistemological assumptions, on a scale
>that runs from "1" equals "positivist" to "7" equals "constructivist"?
>2. Which of the following assertions best represents your view? Please
>choose _just one_.
> a). The only truths are objective (=publicly verifiable); to take
>anything else as truth is to encourage acceptance of delusion as truth.
>b). Reality exists out there, and out job is to discover it, by improving
>the rigour of our techniques for distinguishing the true from the false,
>and thereby accumulating accurate evidence about what's real.
>c). Whatever we call it, the observation that some explanations work better
>than others suggests that there _is_ a reality out there, which will sooner
>or later make itself felt in an unmistakeable way whatever varying
>constructions different people put on it in the meantime.
>d). Although we can't ever be sure about the "goodness of fit", we
>nevertheless function most effectively when we seek to map our
>constructions of what's going on onto the phenomena that we encounter
>around us, looking as rigorously as we can for consistency between actions,
>outcomes, and personal goals: which we take to be the only evidence of success
>available to us.
>e). Everything we encounter has to be experienced by the fallible
>individual mind; this includes so-called "rigorous evidence", as well as
>the basic understandings which we might seek to verify by that evidence;
>thus, verification (personal or "scientific") is pointless, and we are free
>to construct any world we care to
>f). The only truths are subjective (=privately experienced); thinking of
>anything else as truth leads one to accept delusion as truth.
>g). It is in principle impossible for anyone to make a meaningful statement
>on this issue.
>h). Meaningful statements are possible, but none of the above adequately
>captures my own views. If this is your choice, please take an inch of
>screen space in your reply in which to _summarise_ them (consider giving a
>journal reference instead); longer elaborations in subsequent mailings

See Adams-Webber, J. (1989). Kelly's pragmatic constructivism. Canadian
Psychology, 30, 190-193.

>3. In which year did you complete your undergraduate studies?

I have yet to complete my study of undergraduates.
>4. Does your academic training, undergraduate or graduate, include a major,
>or equivalent, in psychology? (Y/N)

I'm not quite sure: B.A. Philosophy, Ph.D. George A. Kelly
>and finally

>* we'll hit the booze in Barcelona

Count me in (I'm rather partial to Spanish brandies)
Jack Adams-Webber Tel: 905 (688) 5544 [x 3714]
Department of Psychology Fax: 905 (688) 6922
Brock University E-mail:
St. Catharines, Ontario