Re: constructs, science and religion

Robert Parks (
Tue, 18 Jun 1996 03:08:18 -0400

Gary.. you write:

>A disinction that underlies, and accounts for, some of the discussion and
>disagreement transpiring in the conversation about science vs.
>It is simply this: I believe that most if not all of you are
>speaking/writing/thinking from within a traditional paradigm of language
>that can be called 'representational.' This school holds that the sound
>or icon ('word') of a language, or tongue, is somehow directly connected
>with the items which it represents. Hence to talk about the matter in
>conversation is to refer to it as a defined, clear-cut entity in being.

......and you note that you are not taking the "representational" point of view.

I also am not taking a representational point of view, and I suspect that
Lois and many others would also endorse the questioning of the
representational view of language. That view has been most strongly called
into question in the postmodernist writings that were discussed earlier.

Further, t doesn't appear to me that construing can be interpreted as
equivalent to representing.

One continuous thread I extract from your writings is that you appear to
have decided that this discussion is an "us vs. them" or
"Gary/Maturana&Varella vs. the PCP list". I hope we can extract ourselves
from that framing of the discussion. I am not even a psychologist, and I
haven't seen any uniformity of views among those who have been
participating in the discussions I have seen.

First, let me say that I am working within an approach that is compatible
with the "speech act" theory of Austin, and the approach to language of
Maturana/Varella. Since I don't disagree with much of what you write about
language and living within language, it puzzles me why you associate that
view with a positivist/objectivist theory of science.

Second, I think you will eventually find that (as someone earlier
indicated) there is an incompatibility between the objectivist/positivist
theory of science you are promoting and asking others to answer to, on the
one hand, and the sort of theory you will devise within the framework you
have laid out. I think you will be able to act as a scientist within that
framework (living within language), but SINCE you live within language, you
won't be able to VERIFY the language you have devised. The term "language"
itself, for example, must be stipulated rather than verified empirically.

Enough said... I hope I can extract myself from the us/them dichotomy, and
add some complexity to the categories - so that I can find my own beliefs
somewhere in the terrain we sketch. I think thats what Lois has been gently

Best regards,