Re: Whither TRUTH???

(no name) ((no email))
Wed, 10 Apr 1996 22:58:38 -0400 (EDT)


Your very neat summary of approaches to a discussion of the TRUTH of
illusions and the VERIFICATION of lies -- from a constuctionist perspective --
deserves to be studied carefully -- very nicely put.
I will quote a part of your reply, since I believe that it is very
succintly and cogently stated, then I will raise a question about another part
of your reply. [Your text is blocked off by lines, herewith.]

Thus far this account [of illusions] supports the correspondence theory
of the relation between words and things. But the "experimental
demonstration" is also a construct (the phi apparatus is not a
natural given) though it is not the sole prerogative of the
experimenter nor does it originate with him/her. Rather it is
part of the *collective agreement* by which a community of
scientists set the conditions and the agenda of the research in
question (in this case the study of a reproducible perceptual
illusory experience) an agreement arrived at over and above the
individual (personal) construals of the situation at hand. In
other words, the community of scientist/observers determine, by
criteria set or agreed upon by them, whether states of affairs
obtain or not, and judge individual accounts of such states
against them.

Its still then, as I am sure you would wish to claim, two
competing accounts ("narratives") but, in the activity of
arriving at consensual agreements about the world, one account is
necessarily *social*, the other, usually *individual*. We do not
appear to have the means of deciding absolutely between these and
different individuals make different decisions (use their own
personal constructs) but the majority invariable are moved by the
social which perforce is lent more weight by their action.
I find this summary to be especially appealing, because it nicely
summarizes the outcomes which follow from careful application of Kelly's
sociality corollary -- and it nicely lays out the workings of the
social construction process.

Can you clarify something embedded in the following:
Much the same arguments apply to lying except that, unlike the
subject in a perceptual illusion experiment, the liar experiences
a discrepancy between two self generated accounts: the one that
s/he knows to be the case i.e. to describe a state of affairs
which exists, and the other, a deliberately contrived, fictional
account which describes a state of affairs which does not.
Why do you switch to speaking of states of affairs which EXIST?"
You do say that the one account is one that "s/he knows to be the case."
Do you mean to say, "knows, from his/her construct system, to be the case?"
>From there, wouldn't one want to say something like, "an alternative account
which the person knows to be contradictory to his/her original construction of
the inputs." By this revision, I would hope to avoid having someone come along
to make the claim that something "exists" as the source of the inputs which
generated the inputs being construed.

I definitely would accept, and would want to elaborate the following
In sum, would it be appropriate to say that the veracity of one
account/narrative over another is determined by the action
consequences for a community upon whom the (individual)
construals fall?
After all, a person could sit around and cook up all kinds of
alternative constructions of particular inputs; and so long as no one else
becomes invalidated by those constructions, they make no difference to the
global scheme of things. We don't worry about a fictionalized account of an
event being a LIE, do we???

Have fun!!!
Jim Mancuso

Geoff Blowers
Dept. of Psychology
University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong