Re: Person as scientist

Tim A. Connor (
Sun, 22 Mar 1998 23:14:15 -0800 (PST)

I think there's a good deal of overlap between "analogy" and
"metaphor"--the main difference seems to me to be that they have different
ranges of convenience, "analogy" being a construct in logic and "metaphor"
being concerned with language. The scientist metaphor was not the only
one Kelly used, either, though it was the one he elaborated most
explicitly, perhaps because, as Jung said, "every psychology is the
psychologist's own confession." Kelly also, at least implicitly, spoke of
the person as dramatist/actor, and somewhere draws a parallel between
scientists and novelists.

As for the parts of speech question--I see Kelly wrestling with the
English language throughout his work, and not always winning. It's a
feature of English (and most, if not all, Indo-European languages) is that
there can be no predicate without a subject. As linguist Benjamin Lee
Whorf pointed out a long time ago, this is not universal--Kelly might have
had an easier time if he could have written in Shawnee or Nootka or Hopi
(which can have verbs with no subjects, potentially making it easier to
talk about a construing process *prior* to a construing self (the self
emerging from the act of construing, rather than the other way around.))

How you do this in English (let alone how you work it into repgrid
technique) I don't know. It might be interesting to try to set up a grid
in which the elements are, say, relationships, and specifically asking for
constructs that are verbs (how are people acting similarly in two of these
relationships and how is the person in the third acting differently?) But
you're still stuck with the implicit assumption that there is a universe
of things that somehow get kicked into motion, an assumption Kelly
attacked but couldn't entirely escape from. How do you convey an idea
that is at odds with the structure of the language you are forced to use?



Tim Connor, M.S. "Psychotherapy is not
Pacific University an applied science, it
School of Professional Psychology is a basic science in
2004 Pacific Avenue which the scientists
Forest Grove, OR 97116 USA are the client and his
<> therapist"
--George Kelly