romanticism and constructivism

Mon, 12 Feb 1996 11:59:11 -0600 (CST)

To state that PCP "is" romantic and that social constructivism "is" classical
seems to leave out the possibility that these descriptors are constructions
about the nature of PCP and social constructivism rather than objectively
"true" facts about each discipline's "essence." It seems to me that any
analysis of the idea that PCP is romantic ought to involve an analysis of
BOTH the shared social constructions that we share regarding the meaning of
the term "romantic," as well as an analysis of the specific, personal
constructions of those offering "romantic" as a descriptor/construction of

Certainly, it is important that people share certain common constructions so
that they can communicate; and, as said by others, these constructions are
often adopted rather than created. Much education (academic, religious,
political, and any other categories you deem important) seems to involve
teaching a particular construction of events; often, these constructions
are taught as facts instead of constructions. This does lead to potential
limitations regarding freedom, which can be nicely explained by social
constructivism. However, Kelly emphasized that much of a theory's worth
is its utility. Cannot utility be found in both a personal and social
level of explanation for human behavior? A complex interaction between
freedom and determinism seems to exist in human psychology, and PCP and
social constructivism appear to be attacking this interaction from slightly
different perspectives. However, I still maintain that, while social
constructivist explanations are useful, they ought not to replace
personal constructions. I may be influenced by the social factors around me,
but I still construe myself as capable, within some limits, of creating,
revising, and struggling to make sense out of what happens "out there."

I am less concerned about whether the PCP-ers or social constructivists are
"right," and more concerned about how dogmatically certain they sometimes
tend to be about just how "right" they are.

Good discussion, everyone!

Jonathan D. Raskin, Ph.D.
Dept. of Psychology
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209-1561
tel (615) 963-5158
fax (615) 963-5140
e-mail: raskinj@HARPO.TNSTATE.EDU