Re: The scientific status of PCP

Tim A. Connor (
Thu, 20 Jun 1996 00:12:40 -0700 (PDT)


What I would like to do is sketch out your basic position as I have
gleaned it from the accumulated totality of your posts. It's entirely
possible that I've missed some key points or misread others, and I hope
you'll correct my construction of your stance.

You identify yourself as a Constructivist in the Maturana/Varela line. My
acquaintance with that particular school of constructivist thought is
superficial, but the basics, as I understand them, are as follows:

All the potential responses of an organism (or, by extension, any system)
to its environment are determined by the organism/system's internal
structure. The organism/system can change its organization in response to
perturbations caused by the external environment, but all possible modes
of organization are latent in the structure. Therefore, we cannot acquire
(i.e., internalize) information about the external environment, only about
our own perturbations--what happens inside us as we come in contact with
the world. [Here ends my summary of Maturana & Varela--what follows may
or may not coincide with their thinking, but I think it does with yours].

What happens inside human beings, principally, is language: we give names
to our perturbations and to the bumping and prodding from outside that
causes them. WE construct systematic relationships among these names and
call it reality. This is what is meant by "living in language."

However, Constructivism offers tools by which we can analyze this
linguistic web and recognize the distortions and limitations it imposes.
By rigorous application of these methods, we can distinguish between
linguistic, belief-based perceptions of reality and scientific, factual

Is this a fair statement of your basic position? Get back to me...



Tim Connor, M.S. "Psychotherapy is not
Pacific University an applied science, it
School of Professional Psychology is a basic science in
2004 Pacific Avenue which the scientists
Forest Grove, OR 97116 USA are the client and his
<> therapist"
--George Kelly