Re: Intersubjectivity

Bob Green (
Mon, 5 May 1997 07:47:27 +1000


Regarding your post,

>Then you note:
>> The problem is determining whose reading is the appropriate one?
>My question here is simple: Is this REALLY a problem for you to
>understand, or are you just being rhetorical?

Rather than rhetoric, this issue is at the core of PCP/constructivism. Is
there a TRUTH? If there are no absolute truth how do we choose between
competing positions/texts. Travis touched on this issue in his recent post.

>I mean, if you say or write something, and then someone responds with a
>comment about it, don 't you immediately form an opinion as to whether
>they 'read' you 'right' or not? And can't you muster some evidence,
>which is acceptable to other observers you regard as qualified?

When I am at my best, I don't launch in but try to understand anothers
position. I may not simply understand how their conclusions are reached.
The other issue I consider if I think I am being misinterpreted is, am I
being clear. There are probably many ways to consider this issue rather
than am I being read right.

>Or do you not know? Or accept just ANY interpretation? Or are we lost
>in hopeless relativism? Or is there some other option I am not mindful

I could suggest something from Kelly to read, but this seemed doctrinaire.
A very interesting book is Psychology as Metphor by Soyland, who describes
the role of persuasion in historical debates in psycholgy. This may be a
poor description of his book, but so I will let the book speak for itself.
Some areas of exploration can be more be more readily validated or agreed
upon rather than others. Then there is the whole issue of (dis)agreement
between between experts.

>Regarding changing behavior, you wrote earlier:

>And you say:
>> This is more complex than it might seem. People can change without the
>> above processes occurring, e.g., as a result of some trauma etc, though
>> there must be an interaction between event, the individual and their
> social environment. Generally, for change to occur a person has to
> believe it is possible or at least want to change in some way.
>> However, learning how and doing is much easier said, than done. I don't
> believe change is as easy or straightforward as this, though I accept
> that you may not be suggesting it is easy. Rather, I am suggesting
> that personal change is not like learning to drive better. This has
> links to the discussion about the self, who and how does change occur?
>> <snip>
>Fascinating. Would you give me some examples of what you mean? I would
>like to give further thought to your point here.

Just about any example will do. A person gets anxious at work while in the
presence of a boss. They know their work and feel they should be able to
behave differently. After an assessment a cognitive-behaviourist would
suggest skills to learn or strategies to address this problem. I would see
this as similar to learning how to better drive a car. Now these skills may
or may not be effective. My point is that there may be issues involved
other than a skills deficit (hence also the existence of many theories and
practices of working with people) which creates this anxiety.


Bob Green