Re: Some further thoughts on construing inputs from PFE

Devi Jankowicz (
Sun, 24 Jan 1999 13:00:10 +0000

Josh Soffer writes inter al., of Jim Mancuso's recent posting:

>But would you be comfortable in saying that there is no such thing as
>imput which is not already organized as a construction? This requries
>that we see the environment, the 'outside' of our system of meaning, as
>just as much organized by and beholden to our interpretive anticipations
>as the other way around, that we do not simply match inside with
>outside, but select from our environment

Two related thoughts from me.
First, let me avoid the notion of "inputs" and instead, offer a favourite
metaphor for talking about "events".
There aren't "events out there". There is a phenomenal flow. Each person
takes his or her own pair of perceptual scissors, cuts the flow in two
places, hold up the bit snipped out, and _calls_ that "an event". The act
of snipping is already an act in which meaning is ascribed, construing

Second, to pick up on the matter of whether there is anything
>substantive or meaningful in any sense, to be found
>'out there' in the imput as treated separately from its relation to our
>own organization

Meaningful? No. There is personal meaning as a result of the snip, sure.
However, _after_ snipping out a bit of the phenomenal flow, the person is
in a position to negotiate with other people about _the event(s)_.
Whatever they manage to agree on acquires a meaningful "out there"
status, as a current social construction.

Substantive? Oh yes, and even before the snip occurs. That's what I
called the "phenomenal flow" above. Seems to me we have to have something
of the kind in the first place: in itself substantive, but not
meaningful. NB If I remember correctly (my journals are at work and I
have only my EndNote database to hand at present) Chris Stevens, "Realism
and Kelly's Pragmatic Constructivism", _Journal of Constructivist
Psychology_, 11, 4, 283-308, is highly relevant here.

Kind regards,

Devi Jankowicz