Re: Aesthetics, PCP and broaders issues in general.

Gary Blanchard (
Wed, 20 May 1998 17:59:07 -0700

Dear Esteban-

Thanks for your rapid, and --- at least to my non-expert interpreting ---
comprehensive, scholarly, and well-grounded response.

I would like to take some time to read over a few times what you have said, and
give myself a chance to reflect on it. Then I will be more than happy to offer
you any comment I have.

Again, my sincere thanks, and appreciation.

Best wishes, Gary

Esteban Laso wrote:

> Hi
> Gary Blanchard wrote:
> >Estaban-
> >
> >I noted in your prior post your comment:
> >
> >"Pierce and Wittgenstein pointed out something very close -that we live
> >inside a world of words, and that we can't rest over an external reality
> >to ultimately validate them."
> >
> >Would you be willing to expand on this, and suggest any implications you
> see for
> >us today, wjther we are Personal Construct Psychology professionals or
> not?
> >
> >I would be most appreciative.
> >
> >Sincerely, Gary
> >
> Sure -altought i'm not a professional linguist!
> Let's start with Peirce. Lacan, the postfreudian Charles Smith quoted, tried
> to reframe Freud's theory inside of the linguistic and semiotic structure
> provided by Ferdinand de Saussure, who believed that a sign (for instance,
> the written word "tree") was composed of a signifier -the sign's material
> form: the letters "t-r-e-e"- and the signified -the meaning associated with
> the signifier: the concept of "tree". Peirce proposed a triadic model: a
> representamen, the form taken by the sign; an interpretant, which is not the
> interpreter if the sign but rather the sense made of it; and an object to
> which the sign refers. Altought Peirce mentions a "real" object while
> Saussure doesn't, he also proposed that _every sign is interpreted by means
> of another sign (the interpretant)_, and that _nothing is a sign unless it's
> interpreted as a sign_ (by somebody). Since, from his point of view, we
> can't think without signs, and since every sign leads to another sign (this
> is sometimes called "unlimited semiosis"), we live inside of a linguistical
> world whose boundaries we are unable to overcome. There is no "intuition",
> no direct apprehension ef an "external" reality. We are bounded by signs.
> Wittgenstein is often quoted as saying "the meaning of a word is the use of
> that word" -that's not the exact phrase, which can be found in his
> Philosophical Inquires, paragraph 43. in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,
> 5.6, he says: "_The limits of my language_ means the limits of my world". (i
> 'm translating my Spanish original). In this, his first book, he is akin to
> a referentialist model of meaning: "2.223 To know if a figure is true or
> false, we have to compare it with reality". But in his late works he shifts
> to a performative model: "403 [SOmething] is true only to the extent in
> which is an unshakable foundation of his games of language" (On certainty).
> These "games of language" are rooted in the "ways of living" we learn as
> children: "23 ... to talk a language is part of an activity or a way of
> living" (Philosophical Inquires). Games of language can change -that change
> bringing a change in concepts and ways of living: "63. If we imagine the
> facts as different from what they are, some games of language lose
> importance and others become important" (On certainty). And "370. ...the
> absence of doubt belongs to the essence of the game of language, and the
> question "How do I know..?" pulls one out of the game of language or else
> supress it" (On certainty).
> Isn't a part of the therapeutic task to arise doubts in the client's model
> of things, and to carry with him an exploration of what could happen being
> the facts "different of what they are"? Our task is not that of making him
> "aware of reality"; we are set with him in changing that "reality" for the
> good -helping him to slowly build new language games and, with them, new
> constructions.
> Hope I've been clear! Any comments?
> Esteban