re: Introduction

W Ramsay (
Mon, 16 Oct 1995 11:39:10 +0100

>Come on, Bill, that is a terrible tease. I am only sufficiently
>curious to ask what is Captain Kirk's list of top ten reasons to
>violate the prime directive?
>Walt Danforth
>Dept. of Psychology
>Univ. of Arkansas
>Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
Yes and no, Walt. The "No" bit because I think that PCP needs a few
parables. Kelly was a brilliant explicator, but his writing, for me,
inclined to the elliptical rather than the parabolic (so to speak)and it's
taken me many years (since 1973, in fact) thinking about it off and on, for
me to arrive at a satisfactory personal replication of PCP because of it.
Successive writers (Bannister & Fransella, Mancuso & Adams-Webber and Laurie
Thomas & Sheila Harri-Augstein, to name but a few to whom I am greatly
indebted,) and conference speakers still leave me wrestling, because
theroetical elaboration, example & precept are not enough. In a sense they
all fail because they are inefficient because they do not consistently
promote construing and reconstruing. In effect, they are more positivist
than constructivist in practice. The virtue of the parable is in forcing
reconstruing on the listener.

I'm not claiming that every Star Trek epsiode is a parable, let alone a good
one, because not all (indeed very few) raise questions relevant to their
audiences, but in general it seems to me that the Prime Directive, for
instance, represents constructive alternativism, whereas the whole
Enterprise high-tech. thing represents scientific positivism etc. etc. At
this level these are metaphors, but when their possible implications are
enshrined in an appropriate parable-episode-plot then I would claim that the
episode has more powerful educational, in the sense of
reconstruing-promoting, possibilities than any number of text-books and
academic papers.

To sum up, parable first, papers after.

Thanks for the jolt into serious activity.


Bill ramsay,
Dept. of Educational Studies,
University of Strathclyde,
Jordanhill Campus,
G13 1PP,

'phone: +44 (0)141 950 3364
'fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367