Re: Mary Includes Her Archetypes

Lois Shawver (
Thu, 14 Mar 1996 11:12:53 -0800 (PST)


You tell me that you are saying two things. One of them has to do with
the way in which simple traits add up to more make more complex traits
and eventually, if I have your model correct, weave together to form the

You say:
First, I am presenting a
methodology for determining whether a
person adds up simple abstractions (traits,
archetypes, etc.) in the determination of
the experience of a construct like Self.

I am concerned, though, that you are careful in your language not to
confuse, as Gregory Bateson would say, the territory with the map. The
measurements may be complex without this implying that there is a complex
underlying trait. My ear hears you conflating these two language
systemsm, for example, in the following passage:

Mathematically, those variables that are
created by synthesizing other variables are
more complex. Simple plus simple equals
more complex. When we elicit a construct
such as Mary-like and trait like abstractions
that are elicited to be characteristic of Mary,
then the traits should add up to Mary.

Is a person's intelligence more complex just because we come up with a
new subset of scores to measure and differentate hitherto
undifferentiated dimensions? Does your research take a stance on this issue?

I think your comments about your "prescriptive methods" remain a bit too
opaque. I don't know if you want to elaborate them in ways that can show
me how you see them, but I take it from the following remarks that you
are not inclined to do so right now. Am I right?

although it is consistent with mathematics,
we have seen that humans can create
degenerate models of the self. The math
will reveal this but I do not take the
disclosure of deindividuated psyches as
proof against the math.

Perhaps you would be willing to explain why you think various kinds of
construct weaving into the self are more healthy than others. Regardless,
I agree with you, of course, that neither a child, nor "Mary" is just a
social convention. They are people. But let's not use this observation
as an excuse to avoid a scrutiny of the constructs that are used by the
researcher to design and interpret the study.

..Lois Shawver