To Jim on Weaving
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 11:27:22 -0500
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Thanks for expressing your interest in the problem
of "weaving constructs." I am sure this has been =

a concern of yours for many years and that you are =

aware of the extensive ramifications of the problem =

for not only construct theory but for science in =

general. Some of our colleagues may not be familiar =

with the issues, however, so I would like to hold =

back from presenting the mathematical details in =

this posting, and turn instead to clarifying the problem.
Joe Rychlak's philosophy of science has been most =

instructive to me on these issues. In particular, has =

been his treament of Aristotle's notion of formal, final, =

efficient, and material causes. Final cause concerns =

the classification or shape of an item; final cause =

concerns the purpose behind the generation of an =

item; efficient cause concerns the actions that generate =

an item; and material concerns the stuff of which =

something is made. A chair is a chair because it
contains a back, four legs, seat and arms (formal
cause). It is a chair because someone wanted to
build something for people to sit in (final cause). It is
a chair because a craftsman sawed, drilled, glued, and
sanded wood in its construction (efficient cause). =

And it is a chair because it is made of wood and =

not air (material cause).

At the beginnings of what we call modern science,
the formal and final were pretty much outlawed
and the efficient and material were accepted as =

the only legitimate paradigms for causal inference.
This probably came about because of the rejection
of the church dogmas. An order of being had been
hypothesized by the church fathers but there was
no way of demonstrating the validity of the order of
being, except by a kind of blind faith. The new
scientists wanted to get away from things spiritual
and used the manipulation (efficient cause) of
material objects as their vehicle. Materialism
eventually arose, with behaviorism and biological
approaches being, probably the clearest expressions
of this materialism in psychology.
As "science" stands now, the "weaving of nature"
(causation) can only be revealed by experimentation.
This is because there are no purely formal cause
methods for demonstrating the inclusion of objects
in larger objects.Thus, if we say good will+ability+
community=3Dscientific advance, the only way modern
science knows to test this equation is by the
manipulation of the presumed independent variables.
This makes the study of ideas, constructs, and
so forth difficult because they are not literally physical
objects and because of ethical constraints that arise =

should we manage to operationalize these terms in
some physical expression. The best we can do with =

the less physical types of being is to use correlations
(factor analysis, etc.) But correlational methods do
not disclose causal relations. They can not tell use
if constructs are being woven together causally, but
only if they occur in one another's temporal or spatial
presence. Such co-occurence may be incidental and
not causal. This is a restatement of the problem of
experimentation versus correlation, that Cronbach =

discussed years ago. It has been central to the division
of appied (usually clinical) and experimental
psychologists into disparate groups. =

SCIENCE is not just a static concept developed
in the wake of Bacon, Locke and Hume. Its been
around a long time and will prosper for a lot longer.
There is no need for us to restrict ourselves to an =

interpretaion of science that was largely a reaction
against the struggles of the old church. The church
could not demonstrate the chain of being =

mathematically from observations. In order to do
this they would have had to have shown that by
mere observation and analysis , we can say A is =

a subset of B. That is, they did not have a
mathematical/logical way of measuring formal
cause. And we have all been paying the price,
ever since.
In a series of papers that were edited by Joe
Rychlak, I proposed a mathematical way of =

measuring formal causes. The method was =

developed from my attempts to synthesize Rychlak's =

philosophy with Kelly's notion of superordinacy. =

It is not the sort of thinking that most scientists =

and mathematicians engage in today. The received
view is that no mathematical procedure for =

measuring formal cause is possible, even in =

principle. The papers on corresponding regressions, =

suggest otherwise. Many simulations (over 30,000)
and analyses of real data support the validity of the
method of corresponding regressions. At first I sent
the paper to Psychological Bulletin. They kept it for
6 months and returned a review by only one reviewer.
The logic of the method was completely ignored, as
was the data. The reviewer said that I was simply
"trying to turn iron into gold." This is the likely =

response anyone will receive should she attempt
to measure the "weaving together of constructs
" in a nonexperimental but none the less empirical
I mention my frustations not simply out of self pity.
I sent copies of the paper to over 100 psychology
methodologists, asking for their criticisms. About
6 old and eminent psychologists responded. These =

guys were some of the most highly esteemed psycholgists
alive. I admit, they gave my ego quite a boost. They told
me that they could find no error in the method's logic
and that it may well prove to be a "revolution " in
statistics. But none cared to say this in public, nor
apparently to use or test the method. They were =

apparently just too tired or wary to test the method
publically because of the revolutionary nature of the
idea. This is what we who would trace the weaving
of constructs are up against. Without Joe Rychlak,
the method would never have been published. I think, =

whether or not the method ultimately survives the
tests of time, that Joe and Ray Russ deserve our
respect and appreciation. Joe's affinity for Kelly's work
is strong. I think, if nothing else, our addressing these
issues is testimony to just how important construct =

psychology could be for all of science. If we solve this
problem of weaving- and we apparantly are the only =

folks who will dare to try- then we will make a very =

significant impact on the advance of science. Please =

do not take this as grandiose. I may have proposed a
mathematical solution, but I know very well that it
arose from my participation in the PCP endeavor. I =

also know that unless some sharp but open intellects
put the method and ideas to the test, it will probably
die with me, whether it is correct or not. Without =

help from the PCP community, I doubt that the ideas
will ever be tested and elaborated. I do believe, =

however, that if it works, WE will show the materialists
that we are capable of solving a lot more than our
family fights. I am not suggesting the method might
do it all. It really makes no sense with out Kelly and
Rychlak. That makes me and my ego a footnote.
I have been called worse.
If ya'll are interested, I will walk you through the
method of corresponding regressions. I'll leave
you with just a thought. Would it be useful to be
able to say from a grid or collection of grids that
a person's construct D is the synthesis of his
constructs A and B but not C? If you think so too,
I could sure use your help in sorting things out.