Formal cause, Superordinacy, & the Mandala
Mon, 11 Mar 1996 19:47:56 -0500
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Formal cause may concern the shape of =

something but the essential concern, at
least according to Mortimer Adler- an
expert on Aristotle's philosophy- is that formal
cause primarily concerns inclusion in a class.
All correlations and regressions address,
in some sense, the notion of shape or "form".
But classification is more broadly based in
the logic of set theory. By conforming to certain
forms, objects fall within broader, more =

inclusive sets. Mary, Sarah, and Jane conform
to the female gender and fall within the set
female. This is why classification systems were
central to the Aristotelian philosophy. Form
concerned the inclusion in a kind or archetypal
set. =

Rooting form in the notion of inclusion has
a parallel in construct theory. Superordinate
constructs are constructs that include others
as elements (subordinates). There has been
a lot of confusion concerning what Kelly meant
by this or even if he was correct. The issue
came to a head after Hinkle introduced his
implications grid. Those who have administered
the implications grid know that subjects frequently
get the line of implication mixed up. They confuse
logical implication with statistical prediction. The
presence of females may correlate with the =

presence of people named Mary, Sarah, and Jane,
but female does not imply the names. Assuming
we are dealing with people with traditional names,
the presence of Mary, Sarah, or Jane implies
female (logically). Thus people get confused. =

Does Mary imply female or female imply Mary
=2E With more subtle constructs the confusion =

grows. Hinkle's use of the resistance to change
grid was an attempt to resolve this confusion.
Changing the set by removing Mary would not
alter the presence of females. Getting rid of the
females would banish Mary. But would Mary's
femaleness not vanish without Mary?
Logically Mary implies female, the subordinate =

implies the superordinate. Or so its seems.
We could view femaleness, beauty, and
ability with a racket ball as subsets of
Maryness. This would be putting the whole
figure construct Mary as more inclusive than
the abstraction Female. Seeing the
superordinate in this manner would mean
that we construe the person as the sum of
the constructions we have place on her. This
makes the individual human more complex =

than any of the abstractions that we may use =

to describe her. In this sense, the
superordinate (Mary) includes female, etc.
and is more complex than its subsets. Jung's
theory works like this. We do not reduce
people to archtypes- unless we are ill and/or =

have gotten possessed by an archetype. For
Jung, Individuation consisted of developing the
archetypes within the person, not reducing the
person to an archetype. The person is much
more complex than the archetype, hence the
mandala symbol heralds the emergence of the
self- in Jung's theory. =

Bannister and Mair published an article many
years ago that seemed to suggest that whole
figure constucts were less meaningful than =

common abstractions (traits, etc,). Bannister
and Mair did not use a control group in their
study, however. I presented a paper at the
PCP conference at Banff that showed whole
figure constructs are more meaningful than
trait like abstractions, when we use the proper =

experimental design. I and the study were
shunned but the stats. held up. This is =

significant not only for corresponding regression
studies but also for the coordinate grid method.
In the coordinate grid method, I assume that
perfect integrative complexity occurs when whole
figure constructs like Mary (figures) are not =

subsets of other whole figure constructs. In such a
case, the whole figures are coordinates-not =

subordinates or superordinates- hence the name =

coordinate grid.
As far as corresponding regressions goes
we would expect the trait like abstactions
that are typically used in grids to be subsets
/subordinates of whole figure constructs. For
example, create a grid containing five trait like
abstractions that you consider essential to =

your character and the whole figure construct
Lois-Like. Then select 50 situations from your
life. Rate your self in each situation on the
abstactions and on Lois-like. The higher you
rate yourself on the abstractions, the higher
you should rate yourself on Lois-like. This of
course assumes you have chosen abstractions
that you believe make-up your essential =

character. If your grid via corresponding
regressions showed that Lois-like did not
include intelligent, but was included in the
construct intelligent, then Jung might have
been worried that you were defining
intelligence by "similar to Lois", rather than
being just one of Lois' many talents.
Sometimes people get caught up in such
personifications of abstractions. I do not
believe you have. =

What do you think?
Bill =