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

Mancuso, James C. (
Thu, 21 Nov 1996 17:35:24 -0500

Gary --
You wrote, in part -- in response to an exchange between me and Harald

> 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.

Please note the phrase, from your message, which I have set off in

I believe that as I use language that I make every effort to make clear
that I am using SIGNS which I take to be somewhat representative of a
construction that I might share with a dialogue partner.
I believe, also, that I try to convey -- by the language that I use --
that I want my words (signs) to be taken as a crude representation of my
constructs. I would feel very uncomfortable if people take my words as
signifying something that "is actually out there." I hope that my words
signify "my construction of the inputs that register on my sensory

You ask us to consider whether or not we are using an objectivist
Can you suggest to us where you detect the use of an objectivist
perspective -- using the quotations which you replicated in your

Note, now, your phrase -- "We rarely know for certain . . ."
Why do you use the SIGN _rarely_? Are you saying that though there are
times that we do know for certain about _reality_ on rare occassions,
those occassions are indeed rare -- but there are times when we do know
for certain????? If so, can you tell me how we could distinguish those
rare occassions from those more general occassions when we cannot know
for certain.

Also, could someone also give us an answer to the question: Why do we
worry about _reality_? Since, after 2500 years of recorded argument, we
cannot find a way to distinguish those occassions when our constructions
MATCH reality from those occassions when our constructions fail to match
reality, why do we persist in talking about reality?????

Jim Mancuso