PCP & The Effects of Our Ontology of Language: An Offer

Gary F. Blanchard, MPA (garyb@pics.com)
Thu, 21 Nov 1996 16:26:52 -0800

Harald Seelig wrote:
> James Mancuso wrote:
> ...
> > Your point about needing to learn a new task on the basis of
> > existing constructs seems [to me] to be related to the thinking that has
> > grown from Vigotsky's kind of theorizing -- that having to do with the
> > "zone of proximal distance." Developing a new construction cannot take
> > place readily if the base of existing constructs is not already
> > available. (snip)

>Hi Jim Mancuso:
> I agree. That is why we are not trying to find a storable prototype of Two Poled
> Movement Constructions. This, I suppose, would lead to something like the
> "Imagery-Debate" for vision.(see Kosslyn and others)(In fact the are some
> attempts to find physiological correlates to motor tasks(!) in the motor cortex
> (see Jeannerod)). What we try to find is the reflected construct that surely
> does correspond to more basic categories in order to get an "overview" of the
> psychological space belonging to a specific movement. If we do this extensively
> enough, we hope to find the maximum range of possible describtions to a
> movement.
> Too naive??? (snip)
> Harald Seelig
Dear Friends-

As a non-PCP trained person, I have been following the above and other,
related conversations. Since I don't know PCP technology, I cannot be
of any help from that angle. But perhaps I can from another:

I invite you to examine the way you are speaking and see if you agree
that it is embedded within the traditional, Objectivist view of

If so, you may well be unittingly furthering an Ontology of Language
that itself may be the source of frustration in your search for
solutions / answers, AND keeping you --- as leaders --- blind to an
important new way of looking at things, personally and professionally.

---What is this 'Objectivism' I refer to? A brief definition of
Objectivism is that, one who holds this philosophy of the nature of
reality believes the world is composed of objects and things, and that
we humans can and do know these objects and things directly, and that
our 'knowing' or observing them doesn not change them in any significant
way. Hence to these viewers, 'reality' is concrete and 'objective,'
even perhaps deterministic.

---What about the alternative: Constructivism, or more precisely what
Winograd and Flores (COMPUTERS & COGNITION) have termed the
'Language/Action Perspective.' People who hold this view believe that
action occurs as an effect of our speaking; and that we rarely know for
certain about the 'reality' of the world, because all of our 'knowing'
(construing/Constructing)is a function of the electro-chemical impulses
triggered in our bodies by the reactions of our senses and other bodily
processes, against the backdrop and "residue" of the ones preceding it.

Thus I contrast:

--The spirit of certainty of Objectivism, with the spirit of
uncertainty of Constructivism;
--The spirit of concreteness of Objectivism, with the intangible
languaging of Constructivism.

So in my attempts to solve problems/clarify issues, etc., I have learned
to focus on a set of basic speech acts, the idea of ontology and mood as
primary in human affairs, and so forth, to help me bring a matter to my
awareness and comprehension, and perhaps under my control a little.

This often results in me, and the people I am working with,experiencing
the assessment that we have clarified and simplified the matter/problem
we initially specified. We may then see new possibilities for resolving
or dissolving it, and achieving the satisfaction we sought in the
beginning. By approaching the matter from a different ontology of
language, or microscope, what is revealed often is remarkably different
from what we initially thought or expected.

So, dear maillist friends around the world, if I can be of any
assistance with any of your concerns from this perspective, please let
me know. I am here as a serious, long-term student of Constructivism,
and as I understand it, we are here to learn together.



					Sincerely yours,                                           
				Gary F. Blanchard, Philadelphia,PA USA
						Voice (609) 871-2024 
						FAX  (609) 835-9524