Re: the nature of 'construct'

Gary Blanchard (
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 15:01:06 -0700

Dear Alessandra-

Thanks for your post. I would like to have a conversation with you about
the points you and I have raised; I assure you I have not spoken or
written without having given my comments much thought. However, I find
your last post, for me, to be so contentious and righteous that I fear it
would be a waste of our time to talk things over.Maybe we should just
agree to disagree.

Here are some specifics to clarify my negative assessment.

1)For example, many of your questions seem to me to be comments. Example:

> You:
> Is that a negative thing? Aren't we all strongly attached to one
> paradigm or the other to make our daily living possible?
> .... do you really think people can operate completely outside of any
> paradigm? Or is this belief a myth promoted by the positivists?
2)You also make broad claims without a shred of evidence. Example:

> You:
> Many scientific theories and much knowledge were, and are, created to
> support a religion/belief/set of values... That is how many theories
> and paradigms have actually advanced in the past!
3) And you assume, inaccurately. Example:

> You:
> ... although we all have pcp in common on this list, there are many >
> individual differences among our field of work and/or general >
> I can't see what you say happen.

I do not have PCP in common; I am still discovering what it is about. My
interest is in the more general, constructivist notion of cognition.

4) You seem to get a little patronizing at times. Example:

> You:
> Maybe what you see as sociability might be seen as respect of other's
> opinion by other people?
5) You also seem to be judgmental. Example:

[Me, in prior message: Those of us with advanced degrees, in particular,
know that we have a professional obligation not to let that happen.]

> You:
> Are those without a PhD less clever then, or less professional, or
> what? Do we measure respectability, intelligence, validity of theories
> against pieces of paper?

6) You also seem hostile at times. Example:

[Me, in prior message: So, Bill and fellow members, I look forward to
hearing your reactions and comments, and am open to making any
clarifications or corrections, here,that I am shown are appropriate.]

> You:
> Appropriate = ? Scientific, rigorous methods? Do you want us to quote
> published authors to support our points? If so, where is the evidence
> that your comments are appropriate? :-)

7) And then, suddenly, you are appreciative. Example:

> You: > Thanks for providing some controversial remarks to comment on, Gary
> Sincerely, Alessandra (Iantaffi, research student)

What can I say? Here are a few points of my personal
philosophy regarding this matter, for what they're worth:

1. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
2. In science, certainty is the enemy.
3. We are all structurally-closed systems, like a tape recorder. The way
our button is pushed has nothing to do with the sound that comes out
(Matuana & Varela, The Tree of Knowledge)
4. What we have to strive for is a 'no-position' position.
5. Language reveals, and language conceals.

Thanks for being honest and open with your reactions, even if I
don't approve.

Sincerely, Gary