Re: The scientific status of PCP

Gary Blanchard (
Tue, 18 Jun 1996 11:23:40 -0700

Dear Tim (A. Connor)-

Many, many thanks for sending me the two articles by Prof. Kelly. I
relish the thought of reading them and, in fact, have just begun. I found
one of his initial comments very useful, in terms of my efforts to share
a new view of constructivism, and to determine the status of PCP.
Perhaps you and others on the list will respond and let me know if you
feel I am interpreting his comments correctly. Here are the 2 paragraphs
["A Brief Introduction to Personal Construct Theory, " by George A.
Kelly, 1966, P.3]:

"....So we usually do things the way we have done them before or
the way others appear to do them. Moreover, novel ideas, when
openly expressed, can be disruptive to ourselves and disturbing
to others. We therefore often avoid them, disguise them, keep
them bottled up in our minds where they cannot develop in the
social context, or disavow them in what we believe to be loyalty
to the common interest. And often, against our better judgment,
we accept the dictates of authority instead, thinking thus to
escape any personal responsibility for what happens.

But though our devices for interpreting circumstances are
still meager, and the human adventure continues to be fraught
with dire uncertainties, it does not follow that facts ever
dictate our conclusions, except by the rules we impose upon our
acts. Events do not tell us what to do, nor do they carry their
meanings engraved on their backs for us to discover. For better
or worse we ourselves create the only meanings they will ever
convey during our lifetime. The facts of life may even be butal,
but they are nonetheless innocent of any evil intent, and we can
scarcely accuse them of taking sides in our epistemological
disputes. Our ever present task is to devise ways of
anticipating their occurence, and thus to prepare ourselves for
assuming a more and more responsible role in the management of
the universe.

So, thanks again, Tim. These papers are going to be very interesting.
Talk to you soon. Best, Gary