Re: the nature of 'construct'

Gary Blanchard (
Mon, 03 Jun 1996 09:21:28 -0700

Dear Bill-

Thanks very much for sharing the information about constructs with me.
Thanks to you and Fay (Fransella), I am feeling clearer about the idea.
I now realize that what I really want to know is not, 'what ARE
constructs,' since there are no such things (like objects). Rather, I
wish to know what you who use the term in Kellyian-based work mean by
the term. That is, how do you construe it.

Thanks for helping me make his distinction, Bill and Fay, out of my
convesation with you.

Now, if I may, Bill and Fay, take the matter to what is, for me, the next
step. You wrote, Bill:

>At the risk of seeming smart-ass, another approach to 'construct' which
>may appeal to you:
>1. A construct is an ordered pair of different language-objects.

Gary Asks: 1.What is a 'language-object?' Would you give a few examples?
2.What is an 'ordered pair'? Would " "

>2. Two constructs are different constructs if they differ in at least
>one of their language-objects.

Gary Asks: If you wouldn't mind, an example or two here, would help me.

>3. The function of a construct is to construe.

Gary asks: 1.Could you say a little more about how this
operation/function works/produces that result?
2. Is the construing effect the same for all construers, or
does/can it differ? If so, why/how?

>4. To construe an object or event is to map at least one of its
>attributes on to one member of a construct.

Gary Asks: Are 'objects' different from 'events'? If not, why the
distinction? If so, what is the nature of the distinction?

>('Attributes' is used as a convenience, here. No guarantees are given
>or contracts entered into about what an attribute is or may be!)

Gary asks: so 'attribute' is just a general term of convenience? Would
you give me an example?

>5. No attribute may be mapped on more than one member of a given

Gary asks: At the risk of wearing you out, would you have an example
ready to hand that illustrates this? I appreciate your

>6. A replication of an event or object is the list of construct-objects
>onto which its attributes have been mapped.

Gary Asks: Again, if you or some other member could suggest an example,
I would greatly appreciate it.

>I'm getting to the stage myself where I feel that there's a need for a
>formalisation of Kelly's framework.

Gary Asks: I take it, then, that the above statements either were
formulated by Dr. Kelly, or have been derived from ones he did

>I find it intriguing that computer
>programming plays such a large part in PCP, and there well-developed
>formalisms for describing computer languages, there's no correpsonding
>formalism for Kelly's Fundamental Postulate and Corollaries.

Gary Asks: Would it be too burdensome to ask for a copy of the above
items? Are they in a computer file which could be attached
to an email message, and sent to me and other members who
may be in similar ignorance of them? Would someone in the US
consider faxing them to me at 609 835-9524, perhaps after
ll pm when the rates are lowest? I would appreciate that.

>Well and clearly as Kelly wrote, there's too much poetry in him for

Gary Replies: He must have been quite a visionary. As I understand it,
such people often leave the detailed implications of their work for
later, and to others, so I am not surprised that he may have handled the
expression of his ideas in a general way. That does not diminish them
for me at all. Genius is genius, in my opinion, and we have to be
thankful for it however it shows up (assuming it is benign).

>Your question, and Lois's reply, have triggered me into making a start,
>however feeble! (I'm not used to this sort of thing).

Gary Says: Your 'start' is an important part of my 'beginning.' Thanks!

I look forward to your further comments regarding the above.

Sincerely, Gary