Re: Person as scientist (fwd)

Esteban Laso (
Sun, 22 Mar 1998 19:19:14 -0500


I've had some ideas about this matters, but they are still very loose and
vague. Anyway, I find this line of discussion very challenging, so I'll
state my hunches as they come.
-I think we can trace a distinction along the lines of "process/state",
"process/thing-out-there", "process/event". This construct aligns what is
moving and changes against what is inert and keeps being the same thing.
This holds some relationship with what Kelly called "phrasing the
experience": placing beginnings and ends over the flux of experience. Unlike
a process, a thing or object can be very minutely distinguished in the
dimension of space; and time doesn't seem to affect them. A rock keeps being
a rock, a mountain is always a mountain -and some external energy is
required to make them change.
-The construct "noun/verb" is somewhat paralell to the previous ones. Nouns
are used to _name things_; verbs tend to express change and movement.
However, some verbs are just as static as nouns: for instance, "to be".
Classical logic can be helpful in understanding how this verb is used within
our languages.
-Bob raises a question:

>Must we have an "object" for a construct?
>What about processes? Can we study a person's concept of "running" without
>nominalizing it?

The answer lies, I think, in the deeply rooted construction of "reality" we
use everyday. This belief is expressed in the structure of our language,
which comprises a world made of separate portions of substance, "objects",
that alter each other by means of their exchanges of energy, and that are
characterized by having "properties", some of them accidental and some
essential. Pretty Aristotelian, isn't it? Every way we turn we find the
walls of our languages; and every time we look for a door, we find our
beloved convictions standing in our way. Concepts like "cause", "effect",
"energy", "object", "substance", need to be reapproached within our minds.


-----Original Message-----
From: Malcolm C. Cross <>
To: Network PCP <>
Cc: <>
Date: Domingo 22 de Marzo de 1998 03:10 PM
Subject: Re: Person as scientist (fwd)

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Sun, 22 Mar 98 18:21:00 PST
>From: "Jones, Helen" <>
>To: pcp-request <>
>Subject: Re: Person as scientist
>I have always thought that nouns and adjectives were not very relevant to
>PCP. If a person is a form of movement, as Kelly suggests, then verbs are
>more likely to be appropriate ways of describing is a
>process. Spence McWilliams has done some interesting work on the
>invitational mode of living and Kelly was concerned himself about the
>"hardening of the categories" all of which makes me wonder whether nouns
>and adjectives would be better ignored...I am not a linguist, but I am
>interested in language and the processes it represents.
> ---------
>From: pcp-request
>To: pcp
>Subject: Re: Person as scientist
>Date: 22 March 1998 00:45
>I'm glad you asked, but I think your question won't get a simple answer. If
>a person is "like" a scientist (analogy), then we assume an interpretation
>of "scientist" is accepted, and "person" is understood by comparison. But
>if a person "IS" a scientist (metaphor), then the directions of
>interpretation seem two way: we may learn something about what it is to be
>a scientist when we study construct formation, and we may learn something
>about what it is to be a person to study the form of self-conscious
>construct formation practiced by the scientist.
>Bob Parks