LECTURE NOTES ON
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE
Note: (1) Please excuse the fact that this text has not yet been revised to reflect a gender-free bias in the use of pronouns. (2) This was written 4 years before we started studying Swedenborg.
"History of Ideas" is the title given to the study of the record-keeping activities of an historical epoch; these activities are informative about the ideas of people in that era. We might say that the record-keeping activities of a community are an indication of the consciousness of the people in that community since these activities are concerned with the recording of ideas people have. We can use the term "ethnosemantic glossary" to refer to a map, chart, or index which shows the nature and character of the record-keeping activities of a particular group. Since such indices or charts attempt to be exhaustive by listing all types of record-keeping activities practiced in a particular community, we refer to them as "cataloguing-practices." Thus, an ethnosemantic glossary is a topographic representation of the cataloguing-practices of a particular community.
Some familiar forms of record-keeping activities are those that have been institutionalized. For instance, in our North American Culture of today we find such items as
In all these instances, the nature of the information to be recorded is standardized so that regulars of a community may routinely have access to needed information. This routine accessibility is achieved by reliance on legitimate but productive methods of classifying information. We call this productive method, the process of titling.
Titling involves making up an identifying label for an idea or piece of recordable information. It is a basic mechanism in the production of any situated display, proposition, assertion, predication -- i.e., in talk or discourse. Saying something or implying something through a display, requires that the something said or implied be in some recognizable form or entity; that is, that it be visible to others. This visibility must be in some already established (i.e., pre-established) medium or frame; hence we speak of the encoding of information in standard form such as we practice on the daily round: proper names for objects, standard lexical phrases for common experiences, regularized argument routines in institutionalized exchanges, established and/or sectarian value orientations, and so on. The practice of recording information selectively characterizes membership belonging. Individuals form group networks in relationship, communication, and other exchanges; membership in a group network is maintained by practicing officially known record-keeping activities; thus:
- who one is - in terms of what one is; and what one is - in terms of what one remembers; and what one remembers - in terms of what one selects to record to remember; which depends on habits of classifying information; which depends on the group's practices.
Thus, it can be seen why group membership is a major factor in the standardization of an individual's consciousness: this is so because the individual's awareness -- what he observes and remembers -- is a pragmatic function of the necessities of his daily round:
This is why there is a close relationship between talk and consciousness on the one hand, and on the other, ethnicity membership or the social setting. What one talks about, the ideas one has, the memories and awarenesses, are all cultural activities of record-keeping or cataloguing-practices. Hence an empirical psychology of knowledge must be based on the scientific study of cataloguing-practices in a community. This we call "Ethnosemantics."
Ethnosemantics attempts to construct a culturological map of a particular community's practices of record-keeping. Such a map is in fact a "glossary," i.e., a one-to-one topographic representation of possible cultural behaviors ("meaningful ideas", "comprehensible acts", "interpretable readings", "possible lines of argument" and so on). Each entry in an ethnosemantic glossary has a defined location, i.e. a pre-established relationship with other entries. The pathways between entries are characteristically routinized so that expectations and predictions can be fulfilled on a high probability basis. For instance, what's being observed in a scene depends on membership practices which an individual assumes as a characteristic habit of his own; thus, policemen on the job can be counted upon to notice identifying features and normalcy signs in a locality; similarly, doctors in airplanes or other emergency situations can be counted upon to report the medically relevant conditions and act upon them; and so on. In general, enculturation, socialization, and assimilation are the three procedures groups use to standardize exchange units in the group. Thus, ethnosemantic glossaries are hierarchically organized indices of exchange units in social settings. Diaries, records, biographies, stories, memories, reports, findings, results, data, facts, arguments, ideas, expressions, topics, themes, reconstructions, constructions, etc. -- these are some familiar products or record-keeping items on the daily round of our everyday lives. They are the units of all social exchanges. They get inventoried, classified, and interrelated, after receiving a tag through the process of titling. Each tagged unit of exchange is a potential item in a record-keeping activity. The individual's behaviors on the daily round make a trace for each such item exchanged: the totality of the individual's pathways on the daily round map represents an index of his experience or consciousness.
Ethnosemantic glossaries are therefore behavior maps that outline the pathways an individual traces on his daily round:
The organization and validation of ethnosemantic glossaries is an empirical task involving the collection of data on the cataloguing-practices of a particular community. "Survey Research" is an important activity of the social sciences; most of it is based on only one modality of cataloguing-practices, i.e., the verbal report. This is also true of much "experimental research" in psychology, sociology, social medicine, public health, and other social behavioral programs in our society which are based primarily on survey research and experimental research based on the verbal report of interviewees or of experimental subjects. Other modalities would include behavior units such as:
Since all of the above are cultural behavior units, they are standardized items to be found in a list of possible behaviors; we have called such an exhaustive catalogue, an ethnosemantic glossary. In such a list, each entry is given a position proper to itself and represents a possible item of an individual's behavior. The assigned position is given by established rituals or traditions; similarly, new positions are established as "modernism" on the basis of established procedures or routines. In this manner, the ethnosemantic glossary is kept up-to-date and valid by recording all existing and new labels for possible exchanges.
All possible exchanges involve positional alignments called "role behaviors." That is, the minimal constitutive unit of all exchanges is the dyed. In this form, relationship is functionally visible through records of exchanges. Records of exchanges always take the format of answers to the query "What happened" (or "What's happening" and "What will happen if..."). These are always cast in units of "titles"; titles are conventionalized and recognizable tags constructed into larger units, which are, thus, "neologisms", i.e., a new combination made of old parts. The ability to recognize neologistic behavior as a routine capacity on the daily round is the common denominator of all social groups. Its study forms the content of the morphological disciplines (philology, linguistics, factor and cluster analyses, logic, mathematics, numerology, and all the "natural sciences" in the Aristotelian sense accepted by modern semiotics).
Among social scientists, the most serious attempt at a functional description of behavior in social settings, belongs to Psychologist B. F. Skinner. For instance, we know of no account more lucid and simple and elegant than his proposals in Verbal Behavior, a book which has stood steadfast against the tidal wave of "Psycholinguistics." The book, published in 1957, was reviewed in 1959 by revolutionary linguist Noam Chomsky (published in Language). The review became a sort of Magna Carta for the anti-behavioristic Cognitivists (also known as "NeoBehaviorists") and sparked mass deflections from the hitherto respectable ranks of the ''verbal behavior" psychologists (we should mention the names of Osgood, Moreover early-Staats, Jenkins, Deese, Postman, Noble, Palermo, George Miller, Fodor, Bever, Garrett, as those whose theoretical writings were influential in the creation of a cognitive learning theory of knowledge in the 1960's). The Skinnerians, however, remained unaffected, pursuing their own programs in the fields of therapy, education, and social engineering. In retrospect, it is clear today that the twenty-year Golden Era of a Psycholinguistics based in speculative empiricism has been a giant step sideways, rather than forwards, in the functional analysis of behavior.
In this course, we intend to explore the ways and means of a program of study that would give the student of behavior an understanding concerning the functional properties of situated displays. Such a program involves the following approximate steps:
The notes that follow are intended to supplement and echo the discussion topics for class. The student should re-read them several times and analyze the arguments in detail. Though the packed style of this type of writing appears forbidding upon first encounter, persistence will be rewarded by clarity. It may help to view these notes as shorthand notations in a special "argument language." Students should consult the References and be familiar with that literature. The Appendix lists various notes and articles on our work and philosophy and may be selectively consulted.
[#1] Ernst Cassirer is a recognized authority on "epistemology" the "science" or the philosophy of knowledge. He wrote in German during the first half of the twentieth century, taught in Sweden and at Yale. His books are translated into English In the Introduction to his "The Problem of Knowledge" (Yale Univ. Press, 1950, written from July to Nov. 1940) he asserts the historical evolution of the problem of knowledge; that is, he declares his approach of study to consist in the reading and understanding of writers throughout the human history of the record keening of ideas.: The importance of the study of the "History of Ideas" has been the cornerstone of scholarship in Western/European civilizations since the earliest of times.
[#2] "Kant's basic conviction and presupposition consist rather of this, that there is a universal and essential form of knowledge, and that philosophy is called upon and qualified to discover this form and establish it with certainty. The critique of reason achieves this by reflective thought upon the function of knowledge instead of upon its content." Cassirer (p. 14) assigns to Kant a pivotal role in the historical evolution of the problem of knowledge. Kant's influence was reversed in the second half of the 19th century by a contradictory development: scientific specializations based on a sort of synthetic "empiricism", viz. the accrual model of knowledge; this presupposes a view that deals with the parts of the whole before it is discovered what the whole is. In contrast to this, in Kant, and in Plato/Aristotle, the whole is dealt with before the parts are gone into (see "organic" in the Aristotelian sense; Aristotle is known as the founder of "taxonomy" and, hence, of the biological sciences).
[#3] In Non-Western civilizations, the problem of knowledge has also occupied a central role: in India: Hindu/Sanscrit Scriptures dating back to several millennia before Christ; in old China: the I Ching and Confucianism; in Hawaii: the Huna Lore or practical magic -- see Max F. Long, The Secret Science at Work, Devorss & Co., 1953; in Japan and in Tibet: Zen, Zen Buddhism, and other Eastern Sects of Discipline. A common misunderstanding by Westerners of these Eastern ways of life and practice is that their foundation is subjective and nonempirical. Instead, they are practical, down-to-earth, and literal compared with the abstractions of Western philosophies. The problem in perceiving this simple truth lies in cultural value directions in thought and in definition which appear contradictory as we move from West to East; or as we move from Ancient to Modern, which embodies a similar switch. The precise content of this "ethnosemantic" value switch can be pinpointed in the following paraphrase which, incidentally, is cast in the framework of the Null Hypothesis (Note: the "Null Hypothesis" is the claim whereby the Modern Sciences such as Psychology, Educational Psychology, Agronomy, Sociology, etc. see themselves linked to the venerable old Ancient Sciences, like Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Linguistics, Metaphysics, etc. which enjoy such masterful scientific attributes as natural, exact, formal, logical, notational, mathematical, etc.)
There is a neat division between Western and Eastern ideas on this: the Western perspective accepts this hypothesis and sees it as a Modernistic Outlook that makes room for science and technology. The Eastern perspective rejects the hypothesis and firmly asserts its opposite: all outside knowledge is maya-illusion projected from within; all such projections are appearances and are ephemeral, cyclical, contentless, or "Void."
[#4] There are of course exceptions in both East and West, as well as particular writers that combine elements from East and West. Another way of looking at this problem is to see it as having two aspects rather than one true and one false, depending on where one starts from culturally. In this outlook, the problem of knowledge has two aspects, components, or phases, corresponding to the West/East dichotomy in its historical emphasis:
Viewed in this manner, all established authorities in West and East alike, both Ancient and Modern, have asserted one of these propositions, and implied acceptance of the other, though few are those who have succeeded in asserting and emphasizing explicitly both of these propositions. Some instances: Descartes is led from an acceptance of P1 as a religious premise to the development of P2 as a materialistic science (e.g., analytic geometry); the I Ching affirms and re-affirms P1, though it sees no opposition to the industriousness implied in P2; Maimonides and the Jewish Sages of the Middle Ages felt compelled to reaffirm endlessly the truth of Pi, while at the same time relegated P2 to the necessities of pragmatism on the daily round of a person in his community; and so on.
Modern Science is extravagant in her efforts to multiply the size of knowledge through an ever richer blossoming of her industriousness in making P2 come true, while she, through her scientist knights and damsels, keeps a leisurely pace vis-a-vis PI which she regards as a distant "ideal" of "basic" research.
The "Psychology of Knowledge" is, in our interpretation, the view one obtains upon the problem of knowledge when the dialectics between P1 and P2 is laid open for systematic inspection and related to the behavioral operations of people in their social settings: the study of this will show that it is the tension between these two polar forces that creates the coherence in the historical organization of ideas, i.e., "knowledge."
[#5] "The historian of the theory of knowledge," as Cassirer calls himself and his approach (e.g., p. 16), becomes aware of "the real, inner, moving forces of the problem of knowledge itself" (p. 16); he sees science and the sciences as evolving according to "deeply hidden" connections. These he attempts to identify in his extensive philosophical works, trying, in his words "to penetrate the motives that led to their discovery" (p. 18) viz. the discovery of fragments of knowledge seen in the intellectual context of ideas.
[#6] In this course, our interest will focus on the deeply hidden connections that explain the immediate and sudden relationships a person experiences with respect to his knowledge. In this view, which may be termed radicalist (see Jakobovits (now James), Essays on Nothing and Everything, 1974), every person would represent, in the approach of Cassirer for example, a science or scientific field and ever person's life would represent the history of that science from its beginnings to its dissolution (by "death" or "scientific revolution"; see also Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). This radicalist view represents our solution to the pedagogic problem we are faced in defining for ourselves, and our students, the meaning of "the psychology of knowledge."
(Note: This course owes its existence to Professor/Dr. Samuel I. Shapiro, of our department, upon whose provocative invitation we have undertaken this task this semester. We apologize to him for the paucity of our References, the size of which a scholar of his bent and depth would surely have to consider an indication of the preparatory nature of our attempt. Nevertheless, we are also aware that the challenge has additional dimensions and scope, which we hope fully to exploit and demonstrate.)
Thus, the psychology of knowledge can be pursued by the empirical approach consisting in the historical description of an individual's daily ideas. We should expect such descriptions to yield evidence of an evolutionary movement of the person's knowledge, just as the historian of the theory of knowledge in the sciences is expected to yield accounts of the history of ideas which exhibit an evolving logical story.
Besides demonstrating the lawful development of a person's knowledge, we should also expect a serious psychology of knowledge to reveal the hidden or subtle connections that exist for all knowledge. This would lead us to examine the practicality of eschatology, i.e., the development of a theory of knowing. Such a theory, if shown to be viable in practice and if it is functionally pragmatic, can relieve a person from the psychological burden of "having to know" which is behind the motive that activates the knowledge industry in modern societies. In this syndrome, the person feels "that he doesn't know enough" of something and seeks relief through an increase in the expenditure of effort and time in the service of study, research, work, meditation, practice, and the like. An authentic theory of knowing would liberate the person from the constant burden of seeking to know more. To this goal we devote ourselves in this course, thereby hoping to effect a change in our students, a change from the anxiety of needing to know more, to a more mature and harmonious position of the secure belief that a person's knowledge is evolutionary and self-directive, seeking its own next-point, being directed by the ineluctability of necessity despite the illusion of choice.
[#8] In the theory of knowing, such as we might be led to formulate through a study of the psychology of knowledge, this question of the nature of frames for a person's knowledge appears central and basic. Here the question requires us to consider the context of knowing as 'the frame' around the knowing itself: is it not the case on the daily round, as it is on the centuries old history parade of scientific ideas, that an idea, thought, feeling, interpretation, definition, assertion, comment, etc. are all context-dependent; that is, dependent for their existence and meaning upon other ideas, thoughts, and feelings. So the question takes on the form of inquiring into the interrelationships that exist between the elements of a person's knowledge. The description and representation of interrelationships in the components of a person's knowledge on the daily round, will be called, an ethnosemantic glossary.
[#9] In the exact sciences, all knowledge is framed by initial premises about the nature of "space". These used to be called "axioms" in Euclidian Geometry, though "hypotheses" is now used for the primary definition of mathematical spaces or multidimensional manifolds Such formal ("pure", not-necessarily "factual") systems of abstraction, define and completely specify, the interrelationships possible, within the context or manifold that has been stipulated. Similarly, in the theory of knowing, ethnosemantic glossaries are formal systems of representation of a person's knowledge that fully define the interrelationships that are possible on the daily round. These possibilities form a set which may be called the display repertoire or culturally meaningful units of behavior. Thus an ethnosemantic glossary is a formally stipulated space in which interconnected elements produce relations, these relations being visible as meaningful elements or units of behavior. For instance, consider the record of a person's sequential activity in some isolated episode on the daily round, such as would be provided by a transcript of a conversation in which he participated; such a record is made up of elements of behavior which may be said to come from a pool of available behaviors each of which is meaningful only to the extent its position is known relative to a glossary segment. This position of a unit of behavior, within a glossary that defines the position of other elements of behavior, is the significance, value, or transactional function of that unit. Since social groups organize their internal activities according to official, standard glossary maps (also called "norms" and "network of norms"), the behavior of individuals in social settings are fully explainable by reference to these glossary-maps. We shall refer to the variations and types of such glossaries as ethnicity.
In summary, ethnicity is a stipulated medium for the occasioning of particular glossary-maps that represent the possible interrelationships between culturally defined units of behaving in social settings. Thus, knowledge exists as variation in ethnicity.
[#10] Ethnosemantic Glossaries are the empirical products of a viable theory of knowing. They are culture-maps wherein an observed behavior can be located, identified, and interpreted by any regular in a community or social locale. The goal of a functionally pragmatic psychology of knowledge is the production of such maps for the daily round of an individual. Upon such maps we can plot a person's course throughout the day: his experiences, understandings, perceptions, interactions. The cumulative tracings of such data amount to an objective biographical record of a person's life. Thus, the problem of knowledge finds an empirical and pragmatic resolution: the tracings on a culture-map a person makes as he moves through the moments of his socialized existence. These tracings can be equated with what many have called "consciousness" (e.g., ethnic or individual or group or historical or cosmic, etc.). Consciousness is the awareness of these tracings, their reflection in some medium of apperception: e.g., topic, knowledge, relationship, manifold, glossary, space, and so on. In this course, we intend to familiarize the student with practical techniques he can use in preparing glossaries and tracings for his daily round consciousness. These techniques consist in preparing and analyzing records and record-segments of their experiences; they are based on the principle that a person's knowing is self-directive and evolves its own frames for self-description and presentation in consciousness terms. This subtle principle will be fully examined in class discussion.
[#11] Cassirer begins his inquiry of the problem of knowledge by examining the problem of "space." The idea of space appears indeed basic in anything one may evolve by way of explanation, whether we're talking about the "outer sphere" of the Universe in the terms of Astronomy or about the "inner world" of consciousness and experience. Note the similarity in function for space and "medium": e.g., outer space is a medium for inter-planetary travel; the inner spaces of consciousness form a medium in which dramatic happenings occur, etc.). Cassirer points out that in the history of science the discovery of analytic geometry by Descartes had the effect of intimately connecting the problem of space to the problem of number (p. 27). Ethnosemantics achieves a similar unifying goal by connecting the problem of cultural space to the problem of exact localization through identifying coordinates. This, a glossary achieves, since it is a framed map that identifies positions for possible courses of behavior on the daily round. (This will become clearer later; see also, Jakobovits (now James) , Notes on Ethnosemantics, 1975; 1976). In analytic geometry, there is a one-to-one functional topology that relates formal geometric facts to actual or possible pathways in space - as we know it and experience it; in the same way we have, in ethnosemantic glossaries, a one-to-one functional topology that relates formal ethnosemantic facts to actual or possible courses of behavior in social settings - as we know it and experience it. The knowledge of geometry is practical only insofar as it represents actual spaces we're dealing with; in the same way, knowledge of ethnosemantics is practical only to the extent that glossaries are representative of possibilities in courses of behavior that are actually available in particular social settings. But how are we to evaluate the authenticity of a glossary?
This is the dilemma that, according to Cassirer (p. 28), beset philosophers and mathematicians as new geometries were formulated in the 19th century: which ones are "true", i.e., representative of spaces in reality, and which ones are fanciful or nonexistent? Felix Klein was, according to Cassirer's account, the mathematician/philosopher who brought an answer to this dilemma by providing, in 1872, "for the first time a comprehensive survey of the various possible geometries from a rigorously uniform and systematic standpoint, (which) was a highly significant advance not only in a mathematical sense but also as a critique of knowledge", (pp. 28-29). Klein showed that the science of space "has to do solely with relations, which must on no account be confused with existence." (29)
In the social sciences, the space-bubble of culture is represented through various individual "geometries" or ethnic groupings each of which has its own sphere of applicability. The unifying conceptions of ethnosemantics is achieved by formulating basic cultural parameters that encompass, logically and fully, all the separate geometries of cultural spaces. It posits ETHNICITY as the cultural manifold, and it stipulates GLOSSARIES as ethnic geography, mapping possible courses of action in cultural spaces; this space is equated with the universal medium of EXPERIENCING (or: knowing; consciousness). In this manner, ethnosemantics exploits the same principle that allowed Fritz Klein to unify mathematics and free it from the bondage of "real existence." He purged mathematics from "intuition" as well by making it "a wholly intellectual theory" ..."to which actual objects or their relations may, but need not, correspond" (Klein's emphasis, 1926, quoted in Cassirer, p. 30). Ethnosemantic glossaries represent formally defined cultural experiences that may, but need not, correspond to actual behavior; the actuality of a potential/possible behavior is thus independent of any prior record of its occurrence. By this solution, both mathematics and ethnosemantics are freed from the limitations imposed by experimentalism and historical precedent. This opens up the way for a wholistic approach to knowledge, experience, and consciousness. Klein's proposal for systematizing the geometries is known as "the theory of groups" in mathematics. Similarly, the theory of groups in ethnosemantics clarifies the nature of the ethnicity manifold by elaborating the formal definition of MEMBERSHIP or "group membership". Klein's notions will be examined first, as presented by Cassirer.
[#12] According to Cassirer's account (p. 31 ff.), Klein's fundamental conception is that a manifold is defined in terms of coordinates that remain fixed for that system; this property allows geographic localization by specifying uniquely all possible positions, and thence, all possible shapes and their transformations into each other; however, transformations may not alter certain properties of "the group as a whole", i.e., transformations yield certain criteria! attributes unchanged or invariant. The empirical task of a mathematician is thus given by the following comprehensive statement:
This characteristic of manifolds whereby certain relations between individualized points remain invariant for a defined group of transformations or operations, is known as top-o-graphy or geo-graphy. We shall see later how knowledge, awareness, consciousness receive exact formulations in ethnosemantics through their definition in terms of the topographic transformations called "topicalizing" (e.g., in talk and thought: see Notes on Display Repertoire, in Jakobovits (now James) , Notes on Ethnosemantics, 1976, in which we outline "the theory of topic nominals" as the basis for all glossary entries).
[#13] Klein's powerful solution succeeds in unifying the geometries under one conceptual framework. The solution depends on the acceptance of a redefinition which eliminates the distinction between "actual" and "non-existent" taking both to be a function of "the possible"; and where what is possible is completely accounted for in terms of the already stipulated properties of the manifold.
In ethnosemantics, the stipulated manifold carries the name of established or pre-established. Thus, the defining coordinates that establish a particular ethnic manifold are listed and indexed in various cultural inventories or ethnographies. Roget's Thesaurus, the Almanac, the Yellow Pages, school curricula, library catalogs, are some common examples of classified repositories of what's pre-established in the particular community we live in (North American Continent). It is important to determine whether or not Klein's solution is as acceptable in ethnosemantics as it is in geometry. It will be seen that not only is it acceptable but offers as well a very distinct practical advantage.
[#14] In linguistics, Klein's solution has been emulated by Noam Chomsky who is known to contemporary social scientists as a revolutionary in both scientific and socio-political fields (see his works on generative transformational linguistics: referenced with the contributions of others in Steinberg and Jakobovits, Semantics, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1971; and his anti-Vietnam writings and other intellectual endeavors; Chomsky is known in psychology as the arch-enemy of Behaviorism). Chomsky's solution can be appreciated by looking first at his reformulation of the question, which he presented as follows:
This was essentially a reformulation of Descartes (and ultimately, Aristotle), and the formal systems embodied in axiomatic manifolds. Note that this "pure" approach liberates itself from the drag of history-only-as-fact, since "a sentence" is now defined not on the basis of prior sentences as already known, but on the basis of the latter plus all future sentences not yet known. The purity of this approach makes it quite valuable since, in language behavior, what seems to matter is the comprehension of unique, unfamiliar sentences ("never heard before"), as much as the comprehension of sentences already heard before. Some of the behavioristic versions of language behavior in the 20th century, particularly those in the "cognitivism" or "neo-cognitivism" group (e.g., Osgood, Mowrer, Hull, Watson, Pavlov), suffer from a distinct handicap, which is, that they take past behavior as the information that fully accounts for observed behavior. Thus, to explain the verbal behavior of a person in some observed setting, these psychologists insist that we must know the person's past history. Since this is obviously not available in any real detail, they are led to attempt to estimate that information through various tests; these yield scores that are then interpreted through such explanatory concepts as attitude, belief, personality trait, skill, competence, automated habit-complex, and the like. Unfortunately, it turns out that tests (also called "experiments" and "measures of") do not yield sufficiently "pure" or generalizable information about the person's past behavior conditions, nor about a person's future behavior conditions; the consequence being that understanding behavior is now reduced to the task of predicting behavior, and predicting behavior is reduced to statistical significances. In this shuffle, the individual person's particular behavior is no longer an exact concern, and "case history" or "applied psychology" has turned into an ''art."
Chomsky's solution, parallels that of Klein's in mathematics, and succeeded in unifying the language sciences of the third quarter of the twentieth century:
For instance, given an English sentence, e.g., I couldn't do it.
and given two specifiable transformations which operate to change the sentence, e.g.
One can then investigate these changes to identify the properties that remain invariant throughout these transformations. In this example, the investigator would be led to formulating invariant entities such as "the subject of the sentence"; and "the tense of the verb", where "verb" is a similar invariant element. In this manner, linguists today involve themselves in much research that attempts to stabilize the invariants of sentences, these being called "syntax," "grammatical category" or "generative transformation rule."
[#15] It is an interesting paradox in the history of science that Noam Chomsky succeeded in unifying the language sciences through his resolution of the problem of individual vs. group, while at the same time being responsible for much disunity in the social-behavioral sciences. As arch-enemy of "Skinnerians," Chomsky and "Chomskyites" have created the current mood of discord among American behaviorists in psychology, sociology, history, education, and political science (apart from the language sciences). We must carefully study this situation as it is quite informative about the psychology of knowledge how can one solution work so well in one area of knowledge while the same solution creates havoc in another area? This will be picked up again later. We shall see that Chomsky's and Skinner's positions are quite naturally reconcilable and their hitherto claimed incompatibility is itself a minor misconception easily rectified. (See our earlier discussions in Jakobovits and Gordon, The Context of Foreign Language Teaching, Newbury, 1974, particularly chapter 9, "The Psychology of Ordinary Language Use"; see also: "The Act of Composition" -- a 1968 paper by Jakobovits, unpublished.) [#16] The method of equivalence by function is a major step forward in thinking. In mathematics, the criteria! invariants of a manifold are stipulated in advance in "pure" form, i.e., irrespective to factuality. In physics, Einstein's relativity equations provide for the invariants of absolute speed and constant curvature, these being given as fixed and particular values; values are empirical, hence verifiable. A tension is established between "ideal values" and "observed values" whose dynamic resolution is seen in the dialectics of experimentalism. In linguistics, the tension between "idealized rules" and "contrary examples" affords a similar intellectual dialectics of research and theory; in that activity, the attempt is always in the direction of leveling any difference that may be left over between general and adequate theories of grammar on the one hand (e.g., a grammar of "English"), and on the other, any human utterance possible (e.g., a future recording from the year 10,000 A.D. of some human voices to an ancient Etruscan stone engraving). This follows from the approach that stipulates that linguistic phenomena are drawn from a manifold whose defining frames are knowable; hence, nothing in that universe can exist that isn't in accord with the stipulated frames.
In psychology, the method of equivalence by function was adopted routinely with the advent of sampling theory in statistics, which forms the basis of contemporary scientific psychology around the world. Here, the tension that creates the intellectual dialectics of PSYCHOLOGIZING derives from the uncertain correspondence statistics creates between group values and individual position: e.g., granted that condition A is statistically related to behavior X, its applicability holds within uncertain and incompletely specified limits; were such limits completely specifiable (as in linguistics or physics), statistical operations would be unnecessary. Thus, the reliance and routine use of statistics imposes a psychology of "group values" for estimating individual values. Hence there cannot be an exact science of psychology as long as "functional" is defined in terms of "statistical". B.F. Skinner appears to us least tinted among the major contemporary figures in psychology; we shall explore this opinion fully, since it is rampant and involves the intellectual life of the students in this course.
[#17] It is important to note the absence of statistics in the basic works of Skinner and American psychologists who identify themselves professionally with the Functional Analysis of Skinner: e.g., behavior modification, operant analysis, functional contingency analysis, and so on. This demonstrates that "functional" is given by "Skinnerians" a meaning other than statistical. Skinnerian Behavior Theory is not, therefore, based on sampling theory. Rather, it stipulates a cultural/behavioral universe, which we may call a behavioral repertoire; this manifold is seen as a medium of operation; the operational rules are stipulated in the "pure" (abstract) form of contingency relations; this is defined as a mathematical function or series within pre-defined frames called "control". In summary, then, the functionalism of Skinnerian Functionalism is pure or formal, i.e., exact locations are predicated for individual behavior units within standard setting locales; it is not statistical in the strong sense that group values are used as estimates of probable individual performance. Instead, its facts are concerned only with individual profiles under exactly specified setting conditions ("contingency controls" or "reinforcers").
[#18] In ethnosemantics, the unifying concept of a cultural manifold, called Ethnicity, derives from the operational treatment of membership as a complete localizing 'ethnography.' That is, membership is the conceptual link between observed behavior or 'phenomena' and context of behavior or 'setting.' Note that the unit of behavior or 'fact' is always "conditional fact", viz. ('fact' in that setting), viz. SITUATED FACT, and so on, making sure that individual and particular have no other meaning except that of membership in a group whose parameters are completely defined by prior stipulation. In this completely formalized view, individual behavior is fully accountable in terms of conditional setting facts and are independent of individual identity such as "socio-economic background", "personality", "individual differences", "stylistic variations", etc. Thus, the invariants of ethnosemantics emerge from the study of transformations operated upon individual behavior irrespective of "personal traits". In this manner, the study of Ethnicity reveals invariant series of evolutionary steps all of which hold 'true' simultaneously. This argument is quite crucial for the psychology of knowledge since its acceptance provides for the basis of eschatology as a theory of knowing. It provides, for example, a rationale for admitting all knowledge as unitary (P1) with the consequence that the ancient knowledge and cumulative experience of our race can be treated on equal footing with the scientific specializations. As matters now stand, a scientific education, ambiance, and career, permeate the consciousness of many North Americans and city dwellers elsewhere on the planet. There is no unity between work and home, official life and private thought. This distance is championed by many colleagues under the banner, once again, of 'high standards' -- and again, meaning conformity to a sectarian position, by no means scientifically pure. Thus personal knowledge is not good enough, or at best, not relevant, compared to objective knowledge. This insistence is no doubt dogmatic even if true within special limits; surely a more correct position is the legitimization of all knowledge, so long as valid coordinates are used for specifying the context. In mathematics, the validity of the coordinates is insured by no other means than an insistence on the operational functionalism of all its stipulated conditions. This is possible not, as it is often supposed, because math is "abstract" and therefore unencumbered by concrete limits; it is possible because of the insistence on the exact specification of transformations from one group or geometry to another. Thus, all geometries employ the fundamental concept of "possible coexistence" (Cassirer, p. 35): "...the unity and continuity of thought are preserved throughout, for the various geometries do not exist side by side promiscuously and without relationship; they develop one from the other in accordance with a rigorously determined principle. Hence we are enabled to survey the entire series of Possible geometries at a glance...." (Cassirer, p. 35).
In similar vein, we can say that the unity and continuity of all knowledge - personal, scientific, transpersonal, spiritual, etc. - must he constructed from scratch, or reconstructed in accordance with a wholistic frame whose properties are fully and formally stipulated. To illustrate, we may anticipate here by presenting a chart-segment of an ethnosemantic glossary. In this example, units of knowledge represented and titled by concept labels appear in an invariant- hexagrammatic series (see table next page)
The hexaygram is also the unit of topic organization in the I Ching - see both the Richard Wilhelm and the James Legge translations; the I Ching is a theory of behavior in social settings and though one of the oldest books extant, it is entirely applicable to modern life - see Jakobovits (now James) , Notes on the I Ching, 1976.
[#19] The historical fact of many existing, geometries has, according to Cassirer's account, led to a most important advance in the theory of knowledge. The advance resulted from the successful solution of a basic dilemma that the 'discovery' of new "spaces" raised: viz., if there is more than one 'kind' of space, which one corresponds to the reality of our universe, and which ones are non-existent, 'fanciful' universes? The solution adopted consists in a compromise between idealization and empiricism, but not of the sort which is invoked by the leading experimental and cognitive psychologists in America today. We shall present an argument in these discussions that (a) reviews Cassirer's account involving Klein, Poincare, Helmholtz,Pasch, and Gauss; (b) shows the ways in which scientific psychology today is mis-grounded on a false sense of empiricism; and (c) shows how ethnosemantics re-dresses the balance and harmony between idealization and empiricism. In these written notes, we present an "outline" that considers these three components simultaneously. This we shall do in the sections.
[#20] Cassirer in 1940, prophetically expresses or antedates --both signs of understanding' --- the discordant fragmentations of P2 ("Knowledge is fragmentary") in the sciences of psychology today. Rather than progress, fragmentation of knowledge may lead instead to empty elaborations:
Today, there is a strong tendency in the training of psychologists to limit and restrict knowledge of human behavior to the empirically given and known. If such a tendency had prevailed in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and other natural sciences of the Ancient Group, empirical knowledge itself would not have prospered as well as it has. "According to modern views a system of axioms is not to be thought of as establishing anything factual, but solely as a 'logical blank form of the possible sciences."' (p. 46). This freedom from empiricism in one's idealizations is itself responsible for the growth of technology and engineering. In psychology, however, a premature crystallization into applied work under social pressures well enough understandable (e.g., the Wars, the Big Industries, Mass Education, Mental Health, ...) has unfortunately led to an inhibiting restriction on the growth of real empirical knowledge. Empiricism leads the orientation and selects the direction for theory. As a result, all general theories of behavior, as well as primary principles, are idealized representations of empirically given phenomena. This means that advances in theory must await the discovery of new facts. In mathematics, such a limitation kept Euclidian geometry as the sole geometry of scientific knowledge for twenty centuries' When breakthrough came in the 19th century, mathematics reasserted itself as an idealized intellectual system relevant to experience and phenomenal observation but not grounded in it. This regained freedom undoubtedly paid off and led to the space technology of today in less than five generations of scholarship!
We can reverse the trend in psychology and adopt a new and more productive position. It may, in a short period, yield a real behavioral technology that eliminates from cultural experience the Myths of Individual Inadequacies. An idealized psychology free from restrictions yet relevant to observed experience would quickly evolve a real basis for applications in education and adjustment. Such a proposal is radicalist and will be elaborated as "ethnosemantics."
The axioms of a pure psychology must be patterns, designs for future plans, not empirically derived facts. According to Cassirer's account of the mathematicians, Poincare in 1902, declared that "the form of empiricism that professes to derive axioms from experience and regards them as simple copies of given, observable facts, does not make sense" (Cassirer, p. 44). Yet this is precisely the view that the training of psychologists is designed to impart to its students, namely that the basic principles of behavior ought to be empirically adduced. In the eyes of modern mathematicians, psychologists have visibly erred. We should "look to experience as a principle of selection, even though it does not become thereby a ground on which one can justify the use of the particular geometry in preference to any other" (Cassirer, p. 45). We can say with Cassirer that we should look to experience as a principle of selection for the axioms that define the cultural manifold of ethnicity; but it is unnecessary that all axioms be in harmony with reason (as in, rationalism); it is unnecessary to see ethnosemantic concepts as simple copies of reality or extracts and abstractions thereof (as in, empiricism). The autonomous nature of a pure psychology needs to be recognized in full measure. Such a freedom would see the development of a plurality of entirely independent systems of axioms. This, in fact, has already happened if we survey all knowledge, as compared to scientific knowledge. We find indeed that the axioms of the scripture books of the Vedas and the Gita, according to Paramahansa Yogananda (The Autobiography of a Yogi, Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, 1972) are relative to psychology today, entirely independent systems of description and knowledge concerning behavior. As indicated earlier, the Eastern Philosophies have evolved knowledge about behavior that emphasizes Unity (P1), whereas the Western Sciences have evolved fragmentary knowledge about man and the world (P2). A pure psychology will encompass the coexistence of independent wholistic theories of man and culture. Science, Yoga, Prayer, Practical Magic, Cosmic Consciousness, Fancy, Folk Knowledge -- are as many independent "geometries" with non-overlapping defining axioms or premises, yet they all are relevant to a pure psychology of knowledge since they all accept documentation in experience as a relevant validity issue. What Fritz Klein did for mathematics, ethnosemantics has to do for the psychology of knowledge.
[#21] According to Cassirer's account, there had been an "indissoluble correlation" between arithmetic and geometry, between the theory of numbers and the theory of extension, since the Pythagoreans of Ancient Greece. Descartes' discovery of analytic geometry drove this bond even further into our consciousness. But the discovery of non-Euclidean geometries in the 19th century, led German mathematician Gauss (see "Gaussian distribution" -- the other title for "the normal curve "in psychology') to write in a letter to a colleague: "We must humbly confess that whereas number is a product of the mind, space has a reality outside the mind whose laws we cannot prescribe a priori" (Gauss, 1900, in Cassirer, p. 37). Gauss thus placed geometry on the side of the empirical sciences, and was led to seek a solution to the problem of "which geometry is true". But, as Cassirer points out, the selection of Euclidean geometry as more true is not a logical solution but an appeal to another court of reference. In the ordinary empiricism of Mill's psycho-logic, influential in the history of American Psychology, the appeal was to sensory experience: since Euclidean geometry fit ordinary sense perceptions, it was true by evidence. However, it was not until 1926 that the problem of "which geometry is true" was resolved, according to Cassirer, by German mathematician M. Pasch in his Lectures on Modern Geometry:
August Comte, the French founder of positivism in philosophy and political science, was before Pasch in 1851, a proponent of the thesis that geometry and mathematics are sciences, "not of concepts, but of facts and must limit (themselves) to ascertaining them" (according to Cassirer, p. 38). However, as Cassirer points out, Comte, despite his staunch positivism, was nevertheless unable to provide rigorous grounds for the system of assertions facts led him to:
"Still the thesis that there is no difference in principle between empirical and geometrical knowledge remains with Comte, as in other systems of empiricism, essentially a bare postulate, and in a certain sense it is set up and defended only as epistemological dogma. Pasch, on the contrary, made the concrete attempt to show in detail what an empirical geometry must be like and how it can be built up from the first with scientific rigor." (Cassirer, p. 39). Note that the empirical core for geometry, which gives it its character as a natural science is seen as freeing it from a necessary correspondence to intuition or experience. This position is more in keeping with the fact of the plurality of geometries than the logic of ordinary empiricism that ties all concepts to the senses. Pasch goes on to provide formal grounds for the empirical core of geometries. In Cassirer's account, Pasch argues that a 'point', for instance, is not some idealized version of a dot on a page:
"A point is not something which has no parts, a line is not length without breadth; but rather a point is a material body whose division does not lie within the limits of observation. Accordingly even the use of the various axioms is subject from the first to definite restrictions." (Cassirer, p. 40).
We feel that this attitude, captured in the account by Cassirer, provides a possible re-orientation for psychology. Psychology in the second half of the twentieth century stands vis-a-vis its dilemma of empiricism just where geometry stood in the first half, following the general acceptance of Einstein's equations. What is needed is a method of implicit definition, as started by Pasch and completed by Hilbert, according to Cassirer's account. We could well apply Cassirer's expression on p. 41 to his application of Kant's expression to Pasch's system, that in such a radicalist psychology as we propose "knowledge begins indeed with experience but does not for that reason arise from experience." Such an attitude would pave the way for a formalism in a pure psychology which is superior to an empirical psychology, just as it was the case in geometry: "Hence Pasch's work had a historical effect that hardly tallied with its systematic purpose, for it actually paved the way for logicism and formalism rather than for geometrical empiricism" (Cassirer, p. 41).
This is precisely the role intended for ethnosemantics: a new mathematics for an exact science of behavior. The rediscovery of a method of implicit definition allows us to steer a rigorous course between knowledge that begins with experience and knowledge that arises from experience. We call our method Pure Color Wisdom, which is mnemonically useful when fully elaborated, but its essential feature is its function as a natural pattern for culture. The six positions on the hexa-grammatic scale, color coded, are actual positions in the medium of experience, and fully define it. Each phase, color coded, is succeeded by another phase, and all phases are operational at all times. From the point of view of technical measurement or empirical observation, the six phases of any unit of experience succeed each other, in time, from the beginning phase to the ending phase, thereon re-cycling or ceasing. This idea is not merely an analogy to geometry, though the functional relationships can be easily drawn (see Jakobovits (now James) , The Geometry of Understanding, TEC Publications, 1975; see also our notes on a Raising Awareness Handbook, 1976).
It should be clearly understood that the idea itself of six phases of any experience or conscious topic of awareness is no more admirable than the idea of three phases, a hundred phases, or zero phases' The hexagrammatic morphology we've re-discovered is not new to those who already are in touch with an enlarged understanding of all knowledge. Thus, our rediscovery is a discovery in presentation only, not in substance, since all along it was there' What is of interest to psychology about our presentation, is that it is an ancient truth translated in contemporary academic terms. This truth can be stated as Proposition 3:
Emerson, like many others, speaks of this truth in religious terms:
The Color Coding System is a mathematical pattern. Its hexagrammatic structure is at once ideal, independent of facts one may adduce for or against it; and it is, at the same time also, descriptive of actual experiences, recordable, even if gone unrecorded. This is not a contradiction; neither is it a paradox. It can be understood as both facts stemming from a third, as yet unrealized, pattern. This higher ranked geometry can easily show that the independence of the hexagrammatic structure is a transformation into another projected plane of itself as a description of actual experience. In other words, let the actual experiences people have in the course of their daily round in social settings be fully described by ethnography A; next, let the history of the discovery of ideas be fully described by ethnography B; then, there will be an ethnography C which is higher in rank than either A or B and which will describe fully how A and B are transformationally related. This ascending series of ethnographies is the composite space of ethnosemantics, and forms the content of its research and investigations. Its product, is the ethnosemantic glossary whose scope for organizing all knowledge as a theory of knowing can be gleaned somewhat from our initial investigations (see Appendix, attached).
[#22] The issue that faces psychologists is the resolution of the problem of an excessive empiricism that weakens the power of psychological theories. We are reviewing Cassirer's account of the mathematicians, their struggle in the 19th and earlier part of the 20th century to resolve the issue of excessive empiricism in geometry. Neither Kant's pure rationality, nor Mill's and Gauss' pedestrian empiricism, was found ultimately satisfactory. Of interest to psychologists, is Helmholtz's attempts at a more "thoroughgoing foundation for empiricism" (p. 41):
The idea of "space" embodies the notion of "the possibility of coexistence". Though the idea, and the notion it embodies, are interpretable in experience, they are nevertheless not dependent on any particular experiential facts one may adduce for or against them. Hence, the study of "space" as in the geometries, are interpretable in experience, but are not dependent on experientially adduced facts. It is possible to speculate on the origins of our geometries in thought or in the discovery of ideas: e.g., that Euclidean geometry is primary because it accords with our experiential intuitions about space; but there are many flaws to such an approach (see, for example, the controversies and beliefs surrounding the teaching of math in primary schools; Jerome, Bruner, Piaget, Binet, and other contemporary cognitive psychologists have written extensively on the learnability of scientific knowledge by children; these issues bear upon the psychology of knowledge inasmuch as "learnability" is related to the structure of knowledge and its presentational features).
Helmholtz, in Cassirer's account, clearly saw that Euclidean propositions constituted empirical propositions about objects in space, and could therefore be wrong, as proven by the Non-Euclidean geometries. For instance, they have shown that an object being displaced from point A to B need not logically remain the same object or retain the same form --an assumption we experientially hold about "rigid bodies" being moved around. Another example: a solid object need not have an "inside" and "outside", as proven by a Mobius strip. The "inside space" and the "outside space" of an object may be the same, as in any doughnut-shaped thing. From an epistemological standpoint, the significance of this lesson is stated succinctly and importantly by Cassirer (pp. 42-43) as follows:
Ethnosemantics can also be described as a theory of operations. An ethnosemantic glossary is a map or theory that accounts exactly for any particular operation or series of operations that are stipulated as possible by its given primary frames ("axioms"). Thus, a glossary, being a geometry with particular ethnicity axioms, covers all possible behavioral operations on the daily round, though it may show operations that are never observed; this strengthens its mathematical power as a basis for understanding culture and behavior, as observed. Cassirer points out that French mathematician Poincare was the first to be clearly aware of the weakness of a geometrical empiricism; unfortunately, the ideas of Mills, Gauss, Comte, Descartes, Spencer, Sherrington, Bekhterev, Pavlov, Wundt, have held sway in 19th century psychology, if not in mathematics, and have thus engendered an empiricism of weak foundation in the twentieth century. While Poincare, in 1902 (La Science et l'hypothese, Paris, E. Flammarion) was taking geometry out of empiricism and establishing for it a strong position in the modern technical revolution, William James, in 1890 (Principles of Psychology,Dover Publications, 1950) was placing American psychology straight smack in the middle of an empiricism from which it has never recovered. The following exchange from Poincare and James highlights our point:
"The object of geometry" according to Poincare,
"Psychology, the science of finite individual minds," explains William James in the 1890 Preface to his two-volume Principles...
The intellectual excesses of a "strictly positivistic point of view" - which sounds to the Right of even Auguste Comte himself' are evident when one needs to say, as James does: "...assuming that thoughts and feelings exist..."' Descartes' ghost again: Mow do I know I exist? I know because I think' James' prophetic declarations and patriarchal authority were quite genuine. Every graduate student in psychology in this country knows that James B. Watson launched behaviorism in his 1913 presidential address to the American Psychological Association; that in his speech, which was entitled "Psychology: As a Behaviorist Sees It," Watson declared that the science of psychology need not assume that people think' This was even to the Right of James himself' James' very considerable influence on the development of American Psychology can be easily documented. By reputation -he is known by all old timers around and the American Psychological Association gave him an extraordinary posthumous tribute by recently publishing and distributing to its members a small volume entitled William James: Unfinished Business (APA, 1969).
In this, four distinguished old timers, C.W. Bray, E.G. Boring, R.B. MacLeod, and R.L. Solomon, honor, in the name of APA, the 75th anniversary of Principles. This unprecedented move in the history of a textbook was well founded, as we've discovered by comparing the index entries in the 1890 Principles with the 1974 edition of the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms. This official publication of the APA purports to be an accurate representation of the topics of psychology today. It presents about 10,000 index entries from the culled contemporary literature of Abstracts and Titles, and of Areas of Focus of Psychologists. In it we found a third of James' 1890 index' This shows James' real influence alive today. (See articles by our students on further features of the use of index contrasts as historical tools, particularly Nahl (1976), Winskowski (1976), and Litman (1976); see also Jakobovits (now James) , Notes on the Reconstruction of Biographical Record, 1976).
James' influence on the precise character of the official standards of scientific psychology is thus easy to trace and document. The empiricism of the "new psychology" which ushered in the twentieth century was headed, in the name of high standards (again!), straight against the more reasoned and more powerful strategy of the mathematicians, as explained by Poincare. The absurd fragmentation of an experimentatalism based on tinkertoy empiricism was recognized and prophesized by James himself. In his Preface, he also states, shamelessly, that
Is it any wonder, then, that, according to his biographers, James retired early in his career from Psychology, calling it "that nasty little science", and reclaimed his chair as Professor of Philosophy at Harvard'? (Incidentally, J.B. Watson is also reputed to have left Psychology shortly after his historical speech in which he ushered in the ultra-positivistic point of view. Nevertheless, though their leaders have forsaken them, the experimentalists have continued to create an astounding avalanche of, in James' own words, "a mass of descriptive details", greatly aided by two important further developments:
[#23] Our proposal for a re-direction in psychology must therefore go back to an intellectual climate that ante-dates Principles. The nineteenth century is the closest century to us' It strikes us as full of wonder, creativity, and fluidity. It captures the Spirit, the Intellect, and the Will. James was a product of that group and his endeavors encompass an admirable breadth. Our comments on empiricism thus apply to Principles, not to James (author as well of: intrepid The Will to Believe, beloved "Talks to Teachers...", and experimental Varieties of Religious Experience). The re-direction must therefore issue from the same enlightened intellectualism that directed Poincare to warn against positivism and empiricism in natural science. His argument, applied to a pure psychology, could have run as follows:
As Cassirer (p. 42) points out in the quote presented earlier (see #21), "the group concept is not restricted either to mathematics or geometry or to number or dimension". In ethnosemantics, the "group concept" is called MEMBERSHIP or "group membership" (see # ). The "study of a definite group" is called an ethnosemantic glossary which is a unified ethnography for a particular membership; viz., the glossary stipulates a full and complete display repertoire from which are drawn all behavioral operations that are definable for that group membership. The general idea of group membership need not be proven since it is already given in our understanding. Futile attempts exist a-plenty on the graveyard of psychological experiments which set out boldly, or foolishly, in disregard of Poincare's reasoned alternative: why attempt to prove what we already understand? Despite this, we have masses of data in psychology to the effect that "the group" needs to be proven by adducing observable evidence on it; "it" being, socialization practices of "the group" in the form of "the community", alias college students and what they claim or imagine to be true about themselves and their parents. Alternately, "the group" becomes institutional parameters: socio-economic background and normative placements (e.g., I.Q. , GRE, NMPI, DSM, )
Another way of putting the argument thus far:
For Poincare, and speaking for modern mathematics, "the group" means co-existing phenomena stipulated formally for a manifold on the basis of intellectual understandings; these understandings are understandings about the nature of space or the nature of possibility. Thus, the "study of the group" is the scientific work which involves investigating possible phenomena in stipulated worlds; such study reveals the laws of operations, i.e., the universal and unchanging (invariant) series and charts of All That Is. Quite a fantastic enterprise!
The correctness and usefulness of the above attitude for a natural science is indicated by the high place mathematics plays in the training of our cultural technocrats, managers of our society: engineers, accountants, economists, nuclear physicists, space electronics, and so on. We believe we ought to teach our students to adopt that attitude and practice that strategy. We illustrate the details of such an attitude by presenting highlights of our work in ethnosemantics. Using ethnosemantics as a sort of notational language, a pure psychology can exist which studies the group from the point of view of a manifold, space, or medium. Let us review the whole thus far:
Step A: First we need to stipulate the frames ("axioms") which define the group manifold; here, we must be careful not to be empirical; that is, we may rely on facts and records thereof, but only in the sense that they are among the things we rely on. Ultimately, and in the end, the frames we end up stipulating and presenting, appealing to our understanding as the court of acceptance. We've done this in ethnosemantics as follows: (i)we label the group manifold for the universe of culture, and call it officially Ethnicity; (ii) we stipulate a defining frame for Ethnicity, namely the color coded hexagrammatic morphology; it defines what's possible in the behavioral world of Ethnicity: all the units, all their inter-relationships, all their states, movements, transformations, and functions.
Step B: Second, we approach the study of other groups. Each additional group is treated as a separate and independent manifold. Each group is labeled, delimited, and defined on the same axiomatic basis we did with the color coding system in ethnosemantics. For instance, the Hindu methods of behavioral engineering practiced in the guru-disciple relationship constitute a well defined space of experience in which all the disciple's movements are carefully traced, catalogued, and explained. We may refer to one such particular manifold as Kriya Yoga.
Step C: Third, we evolve through patience, contemplation, and insight a theory of groups which would allow exact transformations and correspondences between the various groups already defined. For instance, the contrastive features of Ethnicity and Kriya Yoga, or Kriya Yoga and Medicine, or Psychology and Huna Lore, would yield a theory of human operations. Such a theory would be maximally free and powerful.
The Psychology of Knowledge is, in our view, the place where we ought to examine the reasons for the difficulties involved in constructing a general theory of human operations. In this task we must inquire into such queries as Why does some knowledge create an exclusionary attitude towards other knowledge, as we note in the antipathy psychology has for other systems of behavioral engineering.
[#24] A warning to be heeded and understood concerning Poincare's attitude that geometries are not truer one from another, only more useful, is given by Fritz Klein, in the account of Cassirer that we've been discussing. "In respect to the modern doctrine of axioms" Klein wrote in the 1920's
It is noteworthy and significant that all systems of behavioral engineering, other than the academic ones, are always careful to avoid a mere nominalism: Huna Lore, Practical Magic, Kriya Yoga, Aspect Psychology, the Kabbalah, Astrological Psychology, etc. have a non-academic history and avoid nominalism by definite and literal programs of behavior change. By contrast, the academically based systems of Psychology, Psychiatry, E.S.P., Comparative Religion, Anthropology, Social Work, etc. are in fact nominalist in character since fragmentary detail in the absence of a unified frame can only lead to factions, schools, topic domains, areas, policies --- all of which pertain to nominalist issues of labeling and political alignment' In ethnosemantics, we propose a non-nominalist academic program in Fritz Klein's sense that its axioms about Ethnicity and group membership, as specified by glossary frames, are not arbitrary, the product of experimental ingenuity, but rational propositions occasioned by the understanding of the nature of experience in social settings, and are regulated by their suitability for identification: how well do they allow us to extract practical principles and applications to human conduct and affairs.
For example, we derive from experience the presupposition that, as we get older in age, we change from one sort of thing to another (e.g., baby, toddler, teenager, middle-age person, elderly, etc.), and accordingly we eliminate from possible systems of knowledge those which this assumption of change does not hold. Such a misguided empiricism would act against the development of "time-less" models of a person (see Jakobovits (now James) , The Language and Register of Psychotherapy Today,1976, in which we develop a non-progressivist model of the person; see also our Raising Awareness Handbook for a behavioral engineering program based on such a model).
The empirical verification of ethnographies and transactional engineering systems is not an easy matter, since
It is possible, even likely, that scientific psychology, as it has evolved from William James and others, is simpler and more readily acceptable to the ideology of the contemporary American, already assailed and indoctrinated by medicine, scientism, textbook literacy, magazine romance, comic book mentality, T.V. style dramatizations of the daily round, etc. All of this context forces a particular view on the individual which makes his dependency on doctors and psychologists a definitive personal handicap.
(End of Part I)
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