Re: To a Scholar (mandalas, etc.)

Hemant Desai (
Fri, 15 Mar 1996 07:39:43 -0600 (CST)

Dear Bill (and others intersted in this thread):

You raise many points that I would like to comment on. One of the
central problems in human research is that of comparative standards.
The point made by Lois recently about conventions and the role that
normative assumptions make in our knowledge systems is relevant here.

Without conventions, we could not communicate effectively. In fact,
human groups everywhere have come up with schemas to deal with this.
The downside is that unless these conventions and practices are
examined thoroughly there can be no true progress (at least for some
less-privileged individuals who lack resources of the tangible kind).

I can appreciate your approach to construct analysis which uses
mathematical models derived from mandalas (pron. mun-dah-lahs).
As I understand it, these mandalas are shapes and patterns that
represent developmentally "perfect" geometric relations. I can see
how the grid is well suited to such an analysis.

My own approach to understanding scientific thought has taken a
cultural-historical, rather than mathematical-experimental, approach.
The latter has, of late, interested me tremendously. I have a question
about this:

The idea of mental space (that is at the forefront of Kelly's work) has
had at least two approaches: a topological one and a Euclidean one.
Traditionally, the Euclidean approach to physical space has been
considered the more "evolved" one and the topological one "primitive"
(i.e., confined to babies and the less privileged, at least in the
Piagetian literature).

Of course, the measurement issue this implies is of the difference
between ordinal and interval scales, could you comment on this further?

Thanks. Hemant