Re: constructivism vs. alternativism

A. J. Zolten (
27 Feb 95 13:45:22 CST6CDT

The discussion about overlapping constructivism between Kelly and
Jung reminds my vivdly of one of my anthropologist mentor's
description of clumpers vs. splitters. She noted that no matter what
the data (be it skull specimins or religious rituals), there would be
those who preferred to see the similarity between the objects being
compared, and those who preferred the difference. I hear some of this
lumping vs. splitting going on as I listen to the arguments being

Kelly's constructive alternativism is both constructivist and
alternativist, and I can't help but wonder about whether there has
not been some alignment of constructivists behind the splitter
position, while the alternativists have championed the clumpers

Personally, I believe that applying a constructive alternativistic
approach to any area of psychology allows for comparison at a
metatheoretical approach. Is this not what Kuhn was suggesting in his
structure of scientific revolutions? and is not psychology a perrfect
example of accounting for the same (or similar) data by ccutting up
the theoretical pie in different (but often similar) slices?

Given this frame, I have no problems suggesting to yyou (and my
students) that there is little difference between Kelly's and Freud's
conception of anxiety, and I can say with conviction that there is
significant constructivism in some decidely nonconstructivist

A.J. Zolten
University of Centraal Arkansas

BTW, it appears that the folks who have been haggling over "pre-
emption" might want to instead use "outside of your range of
convenience". If one were to reject a premise, pre-emption might
sugggest foreclosure, while outside the range of convenience might
allow for re-analysis of the issue. TTFN