Re: PCP course exercise

Fri, 03 Feb 1995 09:04:46 -0600 (CST)

Very nicely stated.

You have made the point, I believe, that people (observers) do not have
proprietary access to information (events, elements) concerning themselves.

The big problem which psychologists have gotten into over the years (including
many current clinical and cognitive psychologists) is to fail to distinguish
between the event and the construction of the event. Scientific observers (not
to mention most everybody else) continue to refer to mind, cognitive states, nd
internal thought or feeling state processs of other people as if they are
dealing with events (data, information, elements) rather than their
own constructions. This particular philosophy of science flaw was averted by
Kelly in his theory. But the distinction is not unique to Kelly. It has an
antecedant history. Kelly's apparent colleague at Iowa, Korzybski (sp?) has
been quoted to emphasize "Zee map is not zee territory." (A related
philosophical flaw, but still different, is illustrated by "Zee map does not
cause zee territory.") The most clear exposition of this issue which preceded
Kelly was by J. R. Kantor, who straightforwardly emphasized the difference
between "the event and the construction of the event." He also elaborated on
how this flaw in thinking often leads psychologists into dualistic and also
reductionistic thinking. Kantor is perhaps the first person to rebel against
behaviorism (as laid out by Watson, Pratt, and colleagues). But the issue was
coming to be grappled with much before Kantor. In the year before he died
William James wrote an article that argued that the time had come for
"consciousness" to be struck from psychology. This followed directly from his
awareness, I believe, that psychology was not distinguishing between the data
(events, elements, the things we construe) and our constructions of those
elemnts (e.g., consciousness). Then, of course, the year after William James
died, Watson and colleagues tried to grapple with it (in 1911 and thereafter),
but they got hopelessly mired down in reductionistic and dualistic thinking in
their theoretical assumptions. So, it was left to Kantor to state the first
clear position.

I recall discussing with Kelly the similarity of his view with that of Kantor.
Much earlier on, Kelly had published an article (not on theory) in Kantor's


Rue L. Cromwell

From: IN%"" 2-FEB-1995 17:23:45.49
To: IN%""
Subj: RE: PCP course exercise

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Subject: Re: PCP course exercise
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Hello PCP news group:

My name is Michael Mascolo. I am new to the newsgroup, but I've been
listening in for some time now. I am writing you from Merrimack College
in North Andover, Massachusetts (USA). My research interests are socio-
emotional development, the role of social interaction in development,
and constructivism in all its myriad forms.

I've found the discussion of language quite interesting, and I'd
like to address the issue of privileged versus non-privileged access.
I'd like to introduce the distinction -- not a novel one -- between the
subjective and objective frames of reference here (objective meaning
"third party," not true and uncontaminated by inference). It seems to
be that when I describe my internal states, that I do so from a
subjective frame of reference. As such, I have access to information that
you do not have access to (detecting inner changes, and the like). And
so in that sense, I have some privileged access to information. However,
in commenting on my internal states, you also have access to information
that I do not necessarily have access. I might claim that "I am not
angry," but you might call my attention to my rising voice, angry
facial expression, and tense muscles. Thus, from an objective frame of
reference, you might be able to make judgments about my "internal states"
based on information to which I have no privileged access.

So the point is that privileged access to information is not all
or none, it depends upon one's frame of reference.

Now what we do with that information, the meaning we impose upon
it, that is a different story that raises other concerns...

Thoughts on these issues?


Michael F. Mascolo
Department of Psychology
Merrimack College
North Andover, MA 01845