Re: Jung/PCP & preemption

Hemant Desai (
Fri, 24 Feb 1995 16:50:12 -0600 (CST)

Jim Mancuso wrote:

> Chris, and other PCP network participants,
> Happy to have your thorough response -- nothing like putting your
> position "out there," exposing one's construct system. It does a great deal to
> create the kind of arousal which inevitably accompanies construct system
> change!!!
> When I speak of assumptive structures, I am not limiting myself to
> Kelly's formal structure. I am prompting what I believe to be a more inclusive
> analysis of epistemological and ontological assumptions -- at the theory takes
> to be the place of "the world" in the underpinning of the theoretical
> propositions,; and what the theorist assumes to be the ways in which we can
> "interact with that world."
> I am a deep admirer of Stephen Pepper. I regard his work, WORLD
> HYPOSTHESES to be one of the most important works of the great philosophers.
> [More crossover!!!!]. I had the most fortunate opportunity to give my office
> over to Professor Pepper, one day a week, when he came in to teach a course at
> Santa Cruz, where I enjoyed the semester of collaboration with Theodore Sarbin
> [More crossover????]. My first book publishing effort [an effort to link PCP
> to the burdgeioning cognitive science literature of that era] came out while I
> was at SC, and Pepper took the volume home with him. When he returned to SC
> the next week, I found myself quite pleased when he remarked, "Quite
> contextualist, definitely."
> When I refer to *basic assumptive structures* I refer to the kinds of
> foundations which underlie the propositions which Kelly offers, such that a
> fine mind such as Pepper's can recognize and categorize them.
> I see those assumptions in Kelly as a set of assumptions which one can
> find to differ very much from the assumptive structure which underlies Jung.
> I continue to hold the view that there is little gain from attempting
> to forge links between theories which are based on incompatible basic
> foundational assumptions.

I am intrigued by the last para as it seemed incongruent with the rest of
your post. I don't question whether theories are compatible or not.
The issue is, can they be compared at all. A Kellyian would say yes
for that is the nature of the mind it seeks to creat similarities and
diiferences of all it is presented.

In other words constructive alternativism does not specify, per se,
the content of cognition. It only creates sketches the workings of
our "construal process" somehat independent of anticipational process of channeling behavior
toward goals. So, Kelly is first, contextualist and second, organicist.

Contrast this with the Jungian view which is primarily organicist
and secondarily contexualist. Neither of the two theories is very
mechanistic alhough they do appear be said to be formist while Jung is
decidely intluence of animism (a la Pepper and Sarbin)

Jung, like Kelly, uses the idea of bi-polar constructs as a
fundamental principle to explain individual variations in personality;
in Jung: the degree of integration of opposite elemental forces, while
in Kelly: the degree of reflexivity of "self" in and as social process.

To sum up, Kelly's approach focused on epistemology or HOW we construe.
Jung was concerned more with why and what we are. Thus Jung provides a
teleological hypothesis, trans-cultural in scope, a view that goes
particularly deep in defining an evolutionary theory based almost
entirely on CONTENT -- dreams, visions, symbols -- rather than
defining a matrix of element-construct STRUCTURE as in PCP.

Personally I feel the more similarities and differences that we can construe
among and within theoretical approaches the better. And that is itself is a
useful experiment of sorts. Robert and Jim thanks for your recent posts
which are helping me in my understanding that we are all inherently reflexive
*and* evaluative.

Hemant Desai