PCP Congress

Jack Adams-Webber (jadams@spartan.ac.brocku.ca)
Tue, 9 May 95 11:03:36 -0400

Luis Botella, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Ramon Llul University
Cister 24-34

Dear Dr. Botella:

Thank you for your recent note informing me that my invited talk at the XI
International Congress on Personal Construct Psychology has been scheduled
for Wednesday, July 5th at 9 a.m.

As per your request, I am enclosing a title and brief abstract of my talk.

Please note that I shall be away from Canada from May 12th until June 19th.

Yours sincerely,

Jack Adams-Webber


Constructive Alternativism in Cognitive Science

Jack Adams-Webber
(Brock University)


Kelly's model of the 'personal scientist' can serve an important
epistemological function in contemporary cognitive science, with deep
implications for the 'structure of mind'. In developing this model, he
showed that it is possible to construct useful functional descriptions of
cognitive processes at relatively high levels of abstraction in which the
selection of formal assumptions is guided by a priori criteria. Much of the
potential impact of his methodological 'gambit' lies in the fact that it
illustrates clearly how such a priori principles, which are not in
themselves empirically falsifiable, can guide the selection of initial
parameters and boundary conditions for theoretical systems without recourse
to experiments. Kelly's approach presupposes that empirical evidence is not
necessarily regulative of our choice of assumptions in defining the focus
of scientific inquiry. Indeed, from the perspective of pragmatic
constructivism, it difficult to see how we can ever develop theoretical
systems of any generality, without using certain a priori principles to
guide our initial choice of assumptions. For example, Kelly's range
corollary constitutes a specific a priori principle that can serve an
important epistemological function in contemporary cognitive science by
imposing logical restrictions on the scope and deployability of specific
models of cognitive processes.

Jack Adams-Webber Tel: 905 (688) 5544 [x 3714]
Department of Psychology Fax: 905 (688) 6922
Brock University E-mail: jadams@spartan.ac.brocku.ca
St. Catharines, Ontario