Re: constructivism, constructs, + Kellians

Gary Blanchard (
Thu, 13 Jun 1996 00:15:54 -0700

Dear Dev-

Thanks for your open and understanding post concerning this issue of
where Prof. Kelly's work is based, in science or religion.

I hope I have not marred any of your points by the pointed post I just
sent to Jonathan; please give me the benefit of your reaction.

As to the rest of your post, I offer the following.

>You wrote:
> My own two-pennorth would be to suggest that his implicit definition of
> "science" is that it is inductive, while a more generally shared
> would be to view it as hypothetico-deductive.

[ME: Sorry, my friend, but I am not that sophisticated in these matters.
Please take a moment and explain to me what the above means, preferably
with an example or two. Otherwise, to me, it is unintelligible.

>You continue:
> To a constructivist this
> distinction may be over-simple and reeking of positivist epistemology.

[ME: Again, your terminological sophistication is leaving me winded.
Please advise what I should understand you mean by
(1)'a constructivist' and
(2)'positivist epistemology.'
I am just not fluent enough in this jargon, nor do I know you and your
learning community well enough, to find these anything but
presuppositions which may dazzle but do not necessarily delineate, at
least for people like me. And, I imagine that there may be a few others
reading this who also want to be sure they get your point clearly.
Examples would be helpful...nothing elaborate. Thanks.]

>You continue:
> it would nevertheless grant some legitimacy to the stating of a priori
> axioms, the better to explore the consequences one might deduce from
> a la Kelly and every other scientist, personal or "formal", that I've
> encountered!

[ME: Again, I just don't understand what you are saying here. Please

>You continue:
> Jon Raskin then seems to cater for the remainder of Gary's concerns

[ME: What does 'cater' mean?

>...when he
> so elegantly states:
> >It seems to me that being "religious" vs. being "scientific" is not
> >necessarily the most effective way to distinguish between what I think
> >are trying to get at. Perhaps a more useful way to divide this up
> >would be to think of persons as either "dogmatic and righteous" vs.
> >"open and selfreflective."

[ME: Ah, at last! I think I get this one!

[You and Jonathan may be correct, Devi. But, I ask you: How does one
operationalize either of the above two states? Should we appoint a
judge who will look at the faces of the people involved and make a 'call'
as to whom is in what state, and how much?

[Come now! Really! These are simply assessments made by an observer,
according to whatever standard they wish to use, one of which is
generally regarded as positive and the other negative. How does that
approach tell us whether that new pill to cure acne should be taken by
our children, or whether doing so may kill them?

[I await your further response...thanks for the good spirit.

Yours for awareness of telling one thing from another, Gary