abstractions measureable?

Duane Steward (duane@medg.lcs.mit.edu)
Thu, 12 Sep 1996 13:42:05 -0400

To all the PC theorists,

I wish to make use of an individual's personal constructs regarding
healthiness in decision support technology. More specifically, I am
attempting to utilize a person's constructs to compute a utility value
(micro-economic theory) for specific health states. The utility value can
then be used in decision analytic models to compare explicit alternative
strategies in decision trade-offs. Don't get hung up in the jargon here, but
it explains the motivation behind the next statements. What follows is more
germane to my question.

The above leads to a desire to find measureable attributes or bipolar
constructs for any abstractions elucidated in the personal constructus. The
question then arises, "Is there such a thing as an abstraction that cannot
be described in measurable constructs (attributes)?"

It seems to me that repertory grids are all about finding the composition of
abstractions (in the form of bipolar constructs) which make up a person's
discriminatory world view. Any subconstruct (Hinklean) which is not
measureable could well lead to measureable constructs via recursively
conducting the laddering approach until such is found. So how safe is it to
say we will always find measurable constructs if we dig deep enough? This is
alot like asking whether ambiguity will always give way to concreteness if
one pursues the necessary detail.

I give room for this not to hold in the individual who is "not of this
world" (may I say it that way, not being a psychologist?), but I confess my
ambition is not to accomodate the personal constructs from the extremes of
irrational humanity. Rather, I seek to provide a pragmatic tool for the bulk
of physiologic medical decision making.

How safe am I in my expectations (more properly perhaps, anticipations)?


Duane Steward, D.V.M., M.S.I.E., Fellow A.A.V.I.
Fellow in Medical Informatics
Clinical Decision Making Group; Laboratory for Computer Science; M.I.T.
NE43-415 545 Technology Square Cambridge, MA., 02139

duane@mit.edu URL: http://medg.lcs.mit.edu/people/duane/duanespg.html
(617) 253-3533 Group Office: 253-5860 Fax: (617)