Re: The scientific status of PCP

Rahel Meshoulam (
Sat, 15 Jun 1996 21:31:05 -0400 (EDT)

Tim Connor and Jim Mancuso have it right.

The construct religion vs. science is intriguing. What makes a question
we ask scientific (vs. religious)? Examining the way we conventionally
use these terms, I believe that the answer is _not_ in the question's
content. Neither science nor religion owns the question "how was the
universe created," or "is there God?"

We refer to a question as "scientific" when we regard the attempted
answers to the question as open to reconstruction. When we invent a
theory as to the creation of the world (be it "big bang" theory, or the
theory of evolution) we imply (often explicitly) that our theory is
tentative, and will be replaced by a better theory when its time comes
(along the lines of Kuhn's scientific revolution). As we go about our
business, construing the world and anticipating events, we (as
scientists) are prepared to accommodate our theory and change our
assumptions, so as to make sense of the world around us.

We refer to a question as "religious" when we regard the answers we hold
as fixed and unchanged. The answer becomes Truth, which is not to be
accommodated or compromised. My answer "God created the world as
specified in Genesis" is not open to reconstruction. My theory that the
world was created in six days is regarded as true, and irrefutable. As a
religion person, I claim it to be independent of apparently contradicting
observations. Thus, at most I may redefine the concept of 'day and
night' to last much longer that the current 24-hour unit, so I can hold
to my truth that the world was created in six days, a truth which is not open
to reconstruction.

Personal Construct Psychology is, after all, based on the notion of
constructive alternativism. It is also self-reflective: If we, the
inventing beings, continuously construe and reconstrue, all is open to
reconstruction, including PCP. As such, PCP is a scientific theory par
excellence. It is explicitly nonreligious in that it refuses to proclaim
Truths. It studies humans as scientists who are open to alternative
constructions. As such, PCP indeed deserves being referred to as "the
science of sciences."

Uriel Meshoulam
Cambridge, MA