re: the nature of "construct"
Fri, 7 Jun 1996 21:45:26 +0000

It's ery reassuring for this cat person to see that Bill gives moggies the
place they deserve in the universal scheme of things.

However, I did wonder about the following:

>I have no problem with wired-in behaviour as a concept, only with the
>idea that the cat, which has no choice in the matter of responding to
>(from its point of view) aggressive behaviour, thereby makes no distinction
>in an active sense. Of course it responds differently to the two
>situations, but its the _behaviour_ that makes the distinction, not the cat,
>in the 'aggression' situation.

What I was doing in my last posting was to suggest that construing isn't
necessarily a function of deliberate choice. I'm not too clear about that,
which is why I dressed it all up in moggy-lover sensibility; but I'm
attracted to the idea, first pointed out to me by Helen Jones and, if I
remember correctly, Beverly Walker, that it makes sense to apply the notion
of construing to pre-verbal, nondeliberate, preconscious processes as well
as to the situations of more conscious and deliberate choosing, symbolised
by verbal label, in which we're used to applying the term. Perhaps
colleagues could comment further on this issue?

I mean, just look at your last sentence, Bill, in the above extract. You
say that the cat makes no active distinction, and is therefore not
construing. You go on to say that it's the behaviour that makes the
distinction, so you're prepared to admit that _distinction_ is possible
without agency.

Now, clearly (sorry: nasty bit of rhetoric there; start again).

Now, _it seems to me_ that it would make no sense to assert that the
"behaviour" construes just because it compels a distinction; but could we
agree that any organism or process which makes a distinction _and has
agency_ does in fact construe?

In short, and in opposition to your comments on the "language and non
verbal constructs" thread, _of course_ it's possible to have constructs
without words. (See Ana Catina's most recent response to John Fisher.)
Verbal labels are simply one way of expressing constructs; they aren't _in
themselves_ constructs. IMHO.

Kind regards


PS To anticipate your next posting:
What's "agency"?
An attribute of an organism or process in which the organism/process acts
on something else.
And I can't think of a way in which "behaviour" acts on something else,
without reifying the notion of "behaviour". Which seems to be a bit