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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > May > May 8

Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
Date: Mon, 7 May 2012 16:33:15 -0500
Archived: Tue, 08 May 2012 01:24:03 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Fri, 4 May 2012 12:49:11 +0100
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 18:59:26 +0100
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 14:54:05 +0100
>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.

Back to square one. I take it that the post you are referring to
is his last one - that I said I agree one-hundred percent with.
That I was not arguing against. (Actually, there are several
posts by David regarding this aspect of the discussion that I
have stated repeatedly contain detailed descriptions of
processes and mechanisms with which I am in complete agreement,
and have never contested.)

>>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".

I already explained it, Cathy. If you had read and understood
the explanation in my previous post concerning this, you would
not be asking these questions.

I explained that I was interchanging the word "operationalism"
(the name of the doctrine) with the word "operationalization"
(operationalized measure). Explained that it was an improper use
of these terms.

The "curious statement" from one of my posts that you refer to
above is simply one of those times when I used the wrong word.
If you replace "operationalism" with "operationalization" then
it should be immediately obvious to you that I am merely trying
to clarify the distinction between the doctrine of
"Operationalism" and an "operationalized measure." I simply was
referring to an "operationalized measure" in those sentences and
couldn't remember the correct word "operationalization" and, as
I stated, was too lazy and uninterested enough to go back and

It's no more curious than that.

Do you know how long it's been since I have had to use the word
"operationalization?" Several decades. Just like when I couldn't
remember Jane Goodall's hominid of interest and guessed gorilla
instead of chimpanzee. I picked the wrong one. Just like when I
guessed the psychology of William James as Humanism instead of
Functionalism. I picked the wrong word. I relied on memory and
was in error until I went and checked it further.

You're making mountains out of molehills.

>>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?

No. That is not what I am saying. I am saying that psychology
uses empirical experimentation and has obtained a fair amount of
empirical data. This is a solid base. Even if everytime
psychological research used an operationalized measure it
confused operational notions of things with proxy notions of
things when extrapolating from this solid base - and these
extrapolations were flawed and needed to be discarded (as they
should be)  - the solid base still exists. I am saying that
psychological research has come up with some good data since its
inception, and it will always have this - even when the flawed
extrapolations have been recognized and discarded.

>>>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.

Except that I'm not disagreeing with what you have written. My
words above were written in regard to the use of the words
"modern psychology" which, it is my understanding, are referring
to the doctrine of Cognitivism. Even if we recognized that
Cognitivism has been using Operationalism improperly and we
scrap Cognitivism (and I agree with you here that this should be
the case), there is still enough left of psychology that is good
- because psychology is more than Cognitivism. Psychology is
more than Cognitivism. Psychology is more than the use of
"operationalized measure." There was psychology before
Cognitivism. There is also psychology after Cognitivism. The
path away from Cognitivism - the path that I see psychology as
being on - will not be altered. This won't change.

>>>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

Just because it's ancient history doesn't mean that there is
nothing of value in it. Just because most psychologists today
(the overwhelmingly dominating Cognitivists) wouldn't have much
time for it doesn't mean it has no value. You have made it
pretty clear just how flawed Cognitivism is, so why should it
matter what the opinions of these psychologists are? In fact, I
would be disinclined to listen to them, if anything.

And some of these old ideas are being resurrected. See William's
post about concepts espoused by F. W. H. Myers being presented
again in the recent book "Irreducible Mind."

>I should have said a bit more about this.

>The upshot is that neither Psychoanalysis nor Analytical
>Psychology has any empirical basis worthy of the name.

You won't get any argument from me on this.

But it still doesn't mean that there is nothing of value in
these systems, especially Jung's system of Analytical
Psychology. It is extremely interesting that several occult
systems, such as certain witchcraft and Qabalah, can be said to
mirror Jung's system. True, Jung was deeply interested in
occultism but it goes beyond this.

>The transpersonal psychology of Grof, Tart, Maslow, Leary and
>others, owes more to the New Age therapy movement than to
>anything that could be called "scientific" psychology. This
>isn't in itself necessarily a bad thing - but these are very bad
>examples to choose if you are trying to make a case that
>psychology is a scientific discipline.

Well, you're kind of detecting the flavour but not getting the
whole taste. A lot of it comes out of experimentation with
psychedelic substances, which are physical materials acting on a
physical brain. So, it's not entirely without a place to begin
applying the scientific method.

>In any case I'm not at all sure that transpersonal psychology
>can be said to be free of Cognitivist assumptions; certainly it
>is strongly constructivist and incorporates a great deal of
>metaphysical baggage. For a New Age or spiritual philosophy
>this might not be regarded as a problem - but for a scientific
>subject, it once again entails a dependency on a whole raft of
>untested (and probably untestable) assumptions.

It does present science with problems. But because science has
problems testing it doesn't mean that it's not valid. Science
may have to devise some way to test in these realms. Deep-space
objects existed before we invented telescopes that could see
them. Microbes flourished before we constructed microscopes that
could bring them into our view.

>>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

>My mistake - I misread "ecological psychology" as "evolutionary
>psychology". Ecological psychology is in fact Gibsonian's

The above listed are post-cognitivist propositions. Post-
cognitivist psychology is that which goes beyond or opposes the
ideas of Cognitivism.

But you have already pointed out your mistake here.

>>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".

Gibson's theory doesn't work for more reasons than just being
vague. He espoused the idea of "direct perception" too. He
maintained that we perceive objects in the material world
exactly as they are. Research in modern physics has pretty much
nailed the lid down on the coffin of that idea.

I have not argued against the idea that our perceptions are
driven and determined by the external world. Just not in the way
that James J. Gibson held. And I think that most post-
cognitivist propositions don't go far enough.

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