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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > May > May 4

Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 14:54:05 +0100
Archived: Fri, 04 May 2012 06:03:14 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Wed, 2 May 2012 21:26:48 -0500
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary>

>No... let's not "leave aside" my claims about the reliability of
>the human perception system. Let's not just "never mind". We are
>going to continue this aspect of the discussion.

I refer you to David Rudiak's excellent posts of a few days ago,
which deal comprehensively with all these issues.


>The word "operationalisms" should not have been written with an
>'s.' "Operationalism" is the doctrine. I intended to write
>"operationalizations". Sorry for that confusion. These posts
>have gotten unduly long at times, and, to be quite frank, I have
>not had the interest to go back and edit them before sending
>them out.

In that case, can you explain this curious statement from a post
of yours dated 21 April:

"I should rewrite the first sententence in this paragraph so as
to avoid confusion. There should have been the word 'an' in
front of the word 'operationalism' to read 'An operationalism is
not the demon you make it out to be.' Without this addition, the
sentence implies an 'ism' such as Functionalism, Cognitivism,
Behaviouralism, etc. which is not what an operationalism is."

- which appears to state quite clearly that, in your view, there
is no such doctrine as "Operationalism".

>Now, on to your false accusation above. You say, "you claim that
>much or most of psychology does not depend on "operationalisms."
>Well, that is not what I claim at all. Go back and reread my
>post. My exact words were, "psychological research was much more
>than the use of operationalisms." Of course modern psychology
>depends on operationalized definitions of one sort or another,
>as you say. But: the social sciences (including psychology) use
>an eclectic mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods to
>gather data and this approach is known as "mixed-methods
>research." Qualitative methods can and do include quantitative
>dimensions. Quantitative methods can give exact and testable
>expression to qualitative ideas. Measurement can provide the
>connection between empirical observation and the mathematical
>expressions of quantitative relationships.

I've left this paragraph intact to minimize any possibility of
confusion here, because what you appear to be saying is really
quite extraordinary. You seem to be saying that, because
psychology uses "an eclectic mixture of qualitative and
quantitative methods to gather data" it actually does not matter
if the operationalized measures, on which all these methods
rest, are hopelessly corrupt?

>>Second, you claim that even if it is true that all modern
>>psychology depends on operational measures, and even if these
>>measures are systemnatically flawed, this would not alter the
>>big picture for psychology. How you think the big picture for
>>psychology would remain unchanged even if the whole basis of
>>its observations were shown to be systematically corrupted is a
>>mystery to me. Perhaps you can explain.

>Nope, sorry. Never claimed this. I claimed that even if every
>time psychological research uses an operationalization, it
>confused operational notions of things with proxy notions of
>things, it would not destroy psychology. For this to happen,
>every one of psychology's premises, models, observations,
>perceived relationships, etc. would have to be dead wrong. This
>is not the case.

Once again this is a most bizarre claim. Here's what I said
about this in a post dated 22 April:

"Here's why this is such a big deal: Operationalism is supposed
to be a way of putting all your measurements and observations on
a sound empirical basis without recourse to spooky metaphysical
entities that can't be observed. So anything required by theory
but which can't be observed - such as quarks - has to be linked
to what can be observed by a rigorous process of logic.

But if your supposedly "operational" measure is simply a proxy
for something completely different which not only can't be
measured or observed, but whose relationship to the proxy is
impossible even to define, then the whole basis of your claim to
empirical rigor is a mirage. Your supposedly objective
measurements and observations are all hopelessly contaminated by
arbitrary subjective considerations. You might as well be gazing
into a crystal ball."

I don't see a need to add anything here.

>>Lastly you claim that most psychology does not depend on
>>Cognitivism. In an earlier post I listed the Gibsonians, the
>>psychophysicists and a handful of applied (that is,
>>atheoretical) experimenters as examples that don't. To these I
>>should have added some counseling psychologists and a handful
>>of Behaviorists (there are still some of these knocking around
>>somewhere). But that's about it. If you know of any other
>>examples, then once again, I think it's time you produced them.

>No. Another false accusation from you. Go back and re-read my
>posts. I agreed with you that Cognitivism was the dominant
>factor in psychology. I even stated that it has been this way
>since Noam Chomsky did his number on Behaviouralism.

>You are clearly misunderstanding what I mean when I say that
>psychology is more than Cognitivisim. But that has been a
>regular and consistent feature of this disccusion. There are
>many systems within psychology. There is good within each of
>these systems. There is bad within each of these systems. The
>point is that something good can be salvaged from each system
>and what is not good should be discarded. Every system - from
>the Humanism of William James, to Behaviouralism (Cognitivism is
>not a complete rejection of Behaviouralism), to the various
>'depth psychologies' (such as the "psychoanalysis" of Freud, and
>the "analytical psychology' of Jung), to the Gestalt's, right up
>to the newer ideas of the post-cognitivists and the
>transpersonal psychology of Groff and Tart, all have something
>to contribute. This is what I meant when I said in an earlier
>post that psychology will not disappear but will continue to
>improve itself and grow.

This is all ancient history. You wouldn't even find many
psychologists who would have much time for these examples.
Contemporary psychology is overwhelmingly dominated by

>Since the 1990's, post-cognitivist
>ideas such as 'embodied cognition', 'embodied embedded
>cognition', 'situated cognition', 'ecological psychology', etc.
>are starting to take psychology past Cognitivism.

No, they don't. They are all entirely dependent on Cognitivist

>Sure, Jame's
>J. Gibson's 'direct realism' is a post-cognitive proposition but
>it went too far and is shown to be wrong by modern physics.

Gibson's theory doesn't work as a theory of perception because
it's much too vague (a point noted by vision researchers like
David Marr). But the Gibsonian approach generally has introduced
into psychology ideas which, although quite revolutionary to
psychologists, are not at all controversial to researchers in
other disciplines such as neuroscience - such as the idea that
our perceptions are driven and determined by the external world
- the view you describe here as "direct realism".


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