Re: [Fwd: Re: constructs, science and religion]

Gary Blanchard (
Wed, 19 Jun 1996 08:01:01 -0700

Dear Ana-

Thanks very much for your recent post. I can offer you a few comments by
way of reactions. Please let me know what you think.

>Ana Catina wrote:
> Dear Gary,
> I am afraid that I shall say something quite uninteresting in
> comparison
> with all other discussants. I turned around your question, ie moved the
> focus from the meaning of the construct "science vs religion" and tried
> instead to allocate the event you are trying to define: the PCP, or
> kelly`s theory.

> Well, it emerged from a rich clinical experience, could
> you accept it as empirical observation? Kelly was an expert in more
> than
> one clinical theories on personality and lived in a time bubbling of
> theoretical proecupations in the psychology of personality. he
> summarised
> in fact what he and his students considered to mirror their clinical
> observations: they meant that if one construes the man in the way they
> did
> a whole system of theoretical and practical implications would emerge,
> implications that, according to their experience, increased the chance
> of improving client`s psychological condition. Full stop.

> He suggested his alternative of defining the personality in the form of
> a theory. He organised this theory in the form of a postulate and 11
> corollaries, suplying the followers a scheme according to which the
> pesronality structure, its way of functionig, comunicating, changing
> could be alternatively understood. Fair enough, he suggested a method >
> also(how many
> other theoreticians did the same?) inviting the followers to test his
> assumptions. Those taking serious Kelly`s chanllange, tried already to
> prove his assumptions....

So, his assertions are in the nature of assumptions?
Does anyone have a brief list of them? Will they send it to this list?

>.... (Fransella, Bannister, Bonnarius, Riemann, Landfield
> and his students just to name a few of them). They attempted to
> demonstrate that Kelly`s theory is true to life. Some of them enriched
> it, some of them argued against some certain points.

Has his testing process been summarized and reported somewhere? Can
someone put a copy of the summary on this maillist?

> It is up to you if your theoretical credo would be more religion-like.
> If
> you take whatever Kelly or God knows who else said for granted without
> checking if it reflect the reality you are abtracting, you will
> never know if what you believe to be true is also valid.

I agree. That's why I am conducting this inquiry.

> Not asking us is
> the answer; a large part of us did reserach along the theory and with
> the
> method. Read what your fellows have done;

Where is the information about what my fellows have done? I will gladly
read it. Especially I would like to know how it has helped patients.
That is of utmost importance.

>... if you think that it was not
> enough for speaking about a scientifically plausible theory, you have
> your chance to disconfirm it by doing your own research.
Why so defensive, Ana? You claim this is 'a scientifically plausible
theory.' I am just asking to see some data which supports your claim.
You seem to be saying that your claim is enough to support your claim. Or
have I misconstrued what you are saying?

> You keep saying that you are on the wrong list: people ar not enough
> constructivist, positivist, postmodernist, antesomthingist (new
> category!) etc. I remember being said (on this list) that the question
> had been put to purist Kellians (so, I was not enough Kellian in my
> contribution). Why are people so bothered by being or not being > something?
> I have not done this. I have said I am on this list to be with people
who are of a similar, Constructivist orientation. I wish to learn from
and work with such people, to advance what I believe to be the single
most important new paradigm of human operations that we have seen in

My concern is that some of the people are, in reality, simply
traditional Objectivists, but with some formal constructivist
awarenesses. That is, they aren't really able to shift out of the old
paradigm and into the new, at will, but remain captive to the old, and
don't know it.

If I am correct, then such people are operating in an illusion as to
their identity and orientation. But they are desperately committed to
maintaining it. Hence they claim to be one ontology, but actually are
another. That, in turn, means that I can't get what I came for: a chance
to work with, and learn from, other people of the same Constructivist

But, as the old Zen saying goes, 'Spend less time trying to get what you
want, and more time wanting what you get.' I assess I can still create
value for myself here, and so I remain, and remain in conversation and
inquiry. With you, too, I hope.

Best, Gary

> ***************************************
> Dr.Phil. Ana Catina
> Center for Psychotherapy Research
> Christian Belser Str. 79a
> 70597 Stuttgart
> Germany
> Fax number. *49 711 687 6902
> Phone 49 711 6781 411
> ***************************************