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

Wed, 16 Nov 1994 13:45:20 -0600 (CST)

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

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**TARAAAH! Announcing the uni-versal, bi-variate, mono-chromic**

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

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

4. Does your academic training, undergraduate or graduate, include a major,
or equivalent, in psychology? (Y/N)

and finally

5. For those annoyed by any oversimplifications encapsulated in item1,
here's a refinement; (go on, have a go, its the last Q!)
Where would you place your own epistemological assumptions, on a scale that
runs from
"1" = classic realism (e.g., Aristotle to Penrose)
"2" = British empiricism (e.g., Bacon or either Mill)
"3" = logical positivism (e.g., early A.J. Ayer) or rationalism (a la Karl
"4" = pragmatic constructivism (e.g.Kelly, Bohr) or perhaps QED (quantum
"5" = classic constructivism (e.g., Kant)
"6" = Cartesian idealism
"7" = phenomenology-encaspulated redundancy (take your pick)
"8" = really nothing to say-can only smile/skepticism and/or animal faith
(e.g., Hume)

Many thanks!

Kindest regards,

Devi Jankowicz

* we'll hit the booze in Barcelona