Community Cataloguing Practices

Historical Autobiography

by Leon James (formerly Jakobovits)



Foreword (One)

    The study of history in autobiography, as exemplified by the series in psychology entitled A History of Psychology in Autobiography (e.g. Boring and Lindsey, 1967) is of interest to us as ethnosemantic data on the cataloguing practice known as autobiographical reconstruction, in-this particular investigation, of famous-men-in-psychology.

    Here, our primary interest is focused on the development of an indexing taxonomy or GLOSSARY restricted to the topic domain of HISTORICALIZING ACCOUNTING PRACTICES [Note: capitalized entries throughout this work are also GLOSSARY entries (see James and Nahl, 1976, Notes on Ethnosemantics, hereafter NES)] .

    Our method of investigation involves the annotation of textual materials originally framed by their authors as autobiographical in character or reference.  Thus, we are faced with the empirical analysis of official records whose function it is to historicalize.

    The ritual significance of historicalizing practices lies in their decisiveness in establishing the precise contours of cultural identity (g.v.). Since cultural identity is a primary context or frame for individual identity it becomes practical and useful to study the historicalizing practices of those who contribute most heavily to its content. In it, the individual can recover a measure of authenticity and self-knowledge by recognizing --often with amazement and awe--that they are just like him in respects he never dreamt, and that lo and behold, he too, could be one of them.

    This process of identification and empathy with the individual-who-famous cuts scientific ideas down to size. Amazingly, one is dumbstruck by the realization that scientific knowledge is pedestrian, while scientists appear safely and familiarly conventional (like old high school teachers and not yet retired college professors).

    As educators, as well, we are conscious of the need for caution in instilling in our students empty positivistic slogans when their early conceptual development as members of the literate elite is still fragile and vulnerable. Therefore, I council them and urge them towards the study of historicalizing practices as evidenced in official autobiographies of famous-men-of science.

    History is the activity that transforms individual consciousness into cultural identity. For the individual student, the study of history offers an enlightening perspective on his cultural identity. Since cultural identity frames individual consciousness, the study of history reveals the individual's socialized position to himself. Thus, the study of history is self-revealing to us, that is the principal motivation for its pursuit.

    In this report, I am dealing with a particular kind of history that biographers and historians  find fruitful, namely official autobiographical materials supplied by scientists in the pursuit of their professional careers. I am postponing the examination of various kinds of historical investigations that others have used in the past or those that could be evolved with further technical work.

    I have additionally restricted myself thus far to the study of a particular group of scientists, namely contemporary psychologists who are variously classified as "contributors to their field". My initial strategy consists of identifying the standard referential features of the contemporary psychologist's scientific and professional work setting. My data derive from pieces of autobiographical materials that psychologists submit to their peers as prima facie evidence of their scientific and professional activities (articles, speeches, memos, reports).

    Drawing upon my own experience as an academic psychologist and educator since 1962 (McGill University Ph.D.), allows me to anticipate the kind of autobiographical materials that are at hand for investigation. A partial list would include the following examples.

    (1) autobiographical accounts written by famous psychologists in History of Psychology books and other presentations that contain similar information (e.g. tapes and films).

    (2) private and official correspondence pertaining to a psychologist's research, professional, and academic activities.

    (3) notes, diaries, and drafts of writings containing information about editing practices and about the conceptual evolution in the writer's thinking.

    (4) systematic descriptions (or "scientific memoirs") contributed by psychologists as attempted reconstruction of their professional development and career based on record keeping practices of various sorts, including those separately enumerated in this list.

    (5) official pieces of documents perused by psychologists in their work settings as a regular practice (e.g. biobiblipgraphical forms, annual reports, curriculum vitae, job applications, recommendations, etch.).

    (6) official and semi-official records of routine activities (e.g. committee minutes, course outlines, budget sheets, office memos, messages, telegrams, etc.).

    (7) routine junk mail (e.g. publishers' circulars scanned by psychologists in their offices) and other announcements (e.g. convention programs).

Having established a cataloguing indexing system for identifying routine practices of contemporary psychologists, the next step in our investigation is an attempt to outlive the dynamic structure of ordinary scientific activities. This is accomplished by various techniques of ethnosemantic annotation designed to uncover the functionality of the component activities. For example, having identified the referential specifications of the activity "keeping abreast of new scientific developments" by such cataloguing practices as "scanning tables of content" (e.g. new books, publishers' catalogues), the next step consists of elaborating the functional mechanisms that assign a particular pragmatic significance to this activity (e.g. in this case, showing how perusal of tables of content in this manner serves a standardization function in topic content (see REGISTER, James, 1975; hereinafter NES). Further, scrutiny of the evidence might reveal additional functional relationships between a number of setting parameters (e.g. how standardized practices in delimiting topic content in an area serves the function of sub-membership affiliations---which in turn allow such practices as hiring psychologists to teach predefined courses or to work on predefined research problems).

To one who is already engaged in the study of history-of-science the justification for such an interest is self-evident. However, I suspect that this lesson is often forgotten even by those who like me have seen themselves as living this history as protagonists, and hence both for my sake and for the sake of my students and colleagues, I undertake this investigation into the nature of history-making in the psychology of our contemporaries.

    Our method of investigation derives from our prior work in ethnosemantics (see my Notes on Ethnosemantics, 1975; subsequently abbreviated as NES). Briefly, this approach stipulates that history- of-science is a particular cataloguing practice within the scientific community of academicians and researchers. This definition makes possible the objective analysis of autobiographical accounts of famous scientists. American psychology today is highly standardized as evidenced by two simple facts: first, studies involving surveys of the most famous people in psychology you know” (or most important, most influential) keep producing lists composed largely of less than fifty names (compare with APA’s membership of 35,000); second, studies of literature references that show that a minute proportion .of American PhD's in psychology produce almost all of the research and theory. Both facts show strikingly that history-of-psychology s being made by “a few big names.”

    More revealing than these simple facts about authorship (and of course, money and power and Office in Organizations, and a host of such indices one could obtain), more revealing because informative in depth, is the perspective one obtains through reading the autobiographical accounts of the big names in psychology. This investigation is an attempt at developing ethnosemantic units of analysis that formally puts to light what might be called the historicalizing process or activity.

    I recall from high school days a classroom topic on the controversy of how history comes into being; and I remember the slogan “Do great men create history or does history create great men out of those who occupy crucial positions at crucial times. I should find out what the story sounds like in High School today (1976) -- but for now, let me declare that issue premature and reinforce instead the notion that history-making (or as I shall refer to it, historicalizing) is a standardized activity in the same functional sense that “teaching psychology” is a recognized activity having standardized components (e.g. lecturing, grading, familiarity with literature in major texts and journals). Thus, part of the traditional skills imparted to future- famous-men-of-science includes the proper ways of historicalizing one’s intellectual affiliations. This training is obtained from a number of sources that include principally contact with teachers and texts that transmit the tradition (e.g. History of Psychology as an area of knowledge, and historical introductions in doctoral dissertations and in textbooks)

    Those of us who see ourselves as belonging to the small minority of men-of-history do so on two accounts: because we have ‘rubbed shoulder’ with the “big names” on boards and committees and have participated in similar administrative functions on what we call a "national or international level", and because our names are included in lists of "influential authors" in professional or educational membership locales.

    There are many more indices that could be used (and have been: publications, citations, elections, popularity, reputation, novelty, creativity, etc.) but once again these turn out to be shallow in comparison to the interstitial details about the organization of scientific thought gained from the objective analysis of historicalizing accounts produced by those who see themselves in the famous-men-of-psychology role.

    Hence the focus in this investigation upon the development of objective analytic procedures for organizing the data available in the cataloguing practice of producing historicalizing accounts about one's scientific career. There are numerous places where such accounts are found: books that directly present such autobiographies (e.g. A History of Psychology in Autobiography; five volumes since 1930 with 73 famous psychologists contributing to them -- and the series is still active according to Boring and Lindsey, editors of the fifth and most recent volume, 1967); parts of papers, articles, chapters, mimeographed materials, reports---that contain historical details; records of organizations and committees, minutes, newsletters, correspondence, vouchers; indices, convention programs, course outlines, lists of readings, exam questions, titles of talks; and many others (see NES, for a fuller description of methods involving the investigation of cataloguing practices).

    Autobiographical accounts are managed presentations; they always have an intended audience and they are always open to either confirmation or discrediting counter-accounts and reinterpretations. The format of the account is prescribed by the rituals practiced in particular social locales (or socio-functional zones): published books, technical reports, grant proposals, lectures, films, colloquia, keynote addresses, curriculum vitae, minutes of meetings, precedents and procedural rules, etc. Whatever the mode of presentation or the channel of publication, historicalizing accounts exhibit a syntax of organization that becomes apparent upon scrutiny. This organizational structure needs to be specifically described through formal procedures that are essentially and primarily empirical. That is the purpose of this investigation.

Date: 1/11/76

TO: Faculty

FROM: Leon Jakobovits (now Leon James)

RE: Departmental Archives

    "Autobiography improves with age as it ripens into history" "Knowledge is not knowledge until it is preserved in dusty libraries for the future," These are the words of Boring, Lindsey, Gibson. I am not against the practice of purchasing books to augment out two libraries; if only more money were available for this venerable purpose. At the same time I wish to call your attention to the fact that we are discarding a great deal of free materials that should instead be preserved by the librarians. It is as if we were participating in the whole sale elimination of raw data for future studies on the history of psychology. I believe such a practice is highly wasteful of our actual resources as authentic representatives of men-of-science. In the near future, techniques will be available for the routine analysis of autobiographical records. The availability of such raw data will save time and effort in creating more effective institutional conditions for a better life.

    Therefore, I urge us collectively to take this matter of conservation of authentic records seriously and not throw away such things as correspondence, course outlines, first drafts of papers, messages, notes from students and colleagues, committee reports, agendas, office hours, carbons of big-bib forms, publishers catalogues, phone messages (when written down), telegrams (if not strictly personal), and any others that are of obvious value in studies of individual comparisons and standards (e.g. grade distributions, student evaluations and enrollments, Christmas cards and letters from students, extended notes written on student's work, etc.)

    At the same time, I urge those of us who have a special motivation in History and history-making (several of us on this faculty openly or secretly fancy our books as "influential" on a "national or international level") to preserve for the Departmental Archives additional records in written form, records that ordinarily would be recorded in memory only (e.g. how much you've read this week; or which books you look in the index to see if your name is there and which you don't because it's not in your area and etc.; e.g. when you first became aware of the practice of looking up your name in the index, whether you still do, etc., or whether you scan the name index of A PA convention programs, and etc.)

    The indexing of all the materials and records thus preserved will constitute a full and effective description of the cataloguing practices of authentic representatives of men-of-science --- obviously of immense value.



Harry Helson: [in Boring & Lindsey (Eds.), 1967, P. 209]

"The greatest bar to creative work is, I have come to believe, acceptance of scientific shibboleths and doing experiments according to prevailing stereotypes in various fields of investigation."

[Question: Discuss Helson's belief in the light of current theory and research in one of the following areas: Social Psychology in the 1960's; Clinical Psychology in the 1970"s; Education and Teaching in the 1960"s and today.]




James J. Gibson: (in A History of Psychology in Autobiography, Boring & Lindsey (Eds.), Vol V, Appleton, 1967. P. 141):

"Knowledge is not knowledge until it is preserved in dusty libraries for the future."

[Question: Discuss the meaning of Gibson's assertion, as you interpret it.]





James, L. A. The conspiracy of the Gurus

"The list  of psychologists who have directly and personally imputed significant directionalities in my conceptual evolution includes the following: (in chronological order of contact)

1955    - D. C. Hebb    (Perception)

1956 - Bindra        (Motivation)

1957 - W. E. Lambert (Verbal Learning)

1960 - G.A. Ferguson (Statistics) .

1961 - C.E. Osgood   (Psycholinguistics)

1964 - M.S. Miron    (Factor Analysis)

1965 - H.S. Maclay   (Communication Theory)

1966 - A. Ellis      (Psychotherapy)

1967 - O. H. Mowrer  (Integrity Groups)

Beyond this personal contact, several contemporary writers and thinkers exercised decisive influences through the study of their work in the literature and in courses; these include the following:

Woodworth & Schlosberg - Experimental Psychology (1956)

Hilgard - Learning Theory (1957)

Eysenck - Personality Theory (1958)

Doob - Social Psychology (1959)

Thorndike - Test Construction (1960)

Underwood - Human Experimental (1960).

Hull - S - R Theory (1961)

Boring - History of Psychology (1961)

J.J. Jenkins - Verbal Learning (1962)

Weinreich (linguist) - Bilingualism (1963)

Bruner - Cognitive Development (1963)

R. Brown - Semantics (1964)

Skinner - Behaviorism (1964)

Chomsky (linguist) - Formalized

Descriptions (1965)

S. Ullman (linguist) - Diachronic Semantics (1966)

Lennenberg - Biological Bases of Behavior (1966)

Searle (philosopher) - Speech Acts (1966)

Garfinkel (sociologist) - Ethno methodology (1968)

A. Watts (philosopher) - Zen (1969)

H. Sacks (sociologist) - Conversational Analysis (1969)

Rogers - Humanistic Psychology (1970)

Goffman (sociologist) - Transactional Structure (1971)

Bales - Group Processes (1972)

S. I. Shapiro Transpersonal Psychology (1972)

[ Question: Trace the influences upon your intellectual thinking, dealing first, with direct personal contacts (e.g. teachers, memorable encounters with special people), then with indirect contact of ideas through the literature and media. In your answer, specify the type of influence each person had and attempt to integrate your intellectual progress through a chronological reconstruction.]




James, Notes on the Reconstruction of Biographical Record. 1976.

"The problem of the units of reconstruction in autobiographical presentations became dominant in our thinking at about that time as well, sometime in the beginning of 1976. It was really the second phase of our understanding of this basic issue, the first having been discussed previously under the notion of KEEPING TRACK (g.v.), which turned out to be inspirationally accurate though primitive and needing conceptual evolution. m is second stage of crystallization revealed the essential socio-functionality of historicizing units. At that time we talked about the way in which cataloguing practices required a historicizing register specified by an argument syntax directly and pragmatically keyed to ideological claims about scientific-work-qua-social-service."



    "Reading briefly though historical autobiographies written by famous psychologist in the form of "chapters" (short), (linked together as a book edited by other famous psychologists), I find myself bemusedly trying-out-for-size various versions of my own autobiography, framed within a similar context; and while doing so-briefly and abstractly -- I become aware of a dim awareness lurking in the background of my un-sketched future [as framed by the past through the instrumentalities of my current and actual position ] ; the content of which (the awareness) topicalizes as the theme of units -- which I seem to be working on, currently, have you noticed? -- to wit, the way in which the reconstruction of units [see KEEPING TRACK ] is a weaving job or fabrication in the historicizing registers;

or another way of putting this: the way in which such thing as "the scientist's autobiography", being a cataloguing practice, dictates the units to be drawn in the fabricated reconstruction; no doubt there are involved both institutional practices [e.g. graduate training] and personal [e.g. seeing oneself as a famous psychologist] ; so, it seems I have choices now in the kind of famous psychologist's autobiography I will write later for myself; life as social stage; how it is all made up; how grotesque it is for me to take anything seriously, yet how sinful (or unsubtle) it is to mock it; which is where we are now".

[from The Conspiracy of the Gurus by Leon A. James]






Source: Edna Heidbreder, Seven Psychologies York: Appleton, 1933). Popular history text in the 1950's in graduate schools, on reading lists, etc.

[Preface, Next to Opening pare.: "....,This does not mean, of course, that American Psychology can be considered apart from European influences. As a matter of fact, three of the seven systems here presented - structuralism, Gestalt psychology, and psychoanalysis are outright importations from Europe. They have been treated, however, not as movements in European thought, but as influences in American Psychology." (p.v.)]



Functional Transpose


Definitional Assertions

- "the different points of view from which the facts of psychology may be regarded" (p. vi)"

- "systems" which are effective influences in the development of American psychology"

- "the various interpretations of psychology" (P. vi)

- " many different approaches to




Gardner, Murphy tin Boring ~ Lindsey, 1967, p. 259]

    "I had made a contract with C. K. Ogden of the International Library of Psychology, using Harcourt Brace and Company as American outlet. The book appeared in January, 1929. It was really in the nick of time, for E. G. Boring's History of Experimental Psychology (1929) had not come out. When it did, I found a generous appreciation of By Historical Introduction (1929) in Boring's words, and as things worked out, his book and mine never really "competed" in any serious sense.




"Rupert's account of the sales for The Context arrived today. I couldn't believe it: they sold less than 500 copies in the first two years! We ordered 60 copies, plus library sales alone must run into 200, which means fewer than 300 people bought the book! Amazing' Circulars wont to thousands of teachers and thousands more saw the national ads. I don't get it. to you?"

[from correspondence between authors of The Context of Foreign Language Teaching by Jakobovits and Gordon, Newbury House Publishers, Rowley, Mass., 1974]



from Leon A. James, The Conspiracy of the Gurus

    "My first book was not really a book in the proper sense of authorship. It was a book of readings called The psychology of Language (1967) which was co-edited with M.S. Miron, and though it fell short of my ambitions of being an author, it was rewarding on account of the visibility it afforded. At that time, there were only two widely used sources in the emerging new field of "psycholinguistics" (Saporta's edited book by that title (1960) and the influential monograph edited by Osgood and Sebeok, 1954) and my book with Miron sold steadily for several years. In 1968, Rupert -Ingram saw a monograph I prepared at the request of William Mackey, then the Director of the new International Center for Bilingualism -who had asked me to write a general review paper on language teaching research. Ingram was then just getting underway with starting -a new Language Series for Newbury House Publishers and he urged me to expand the monograph into a book suitable for language teachers. I was excited by the idea even though it interfered with the book project I had been working on at the time which was to have been a textbook on bilingualism. As it turned out, I failed to write anything new on language teaching and never got back to my notes on bilingualism. Instead, Foreign Language Teaching: A Psycholinguistic Analysis of the Issues was published by Newbury in 1960 and it contained selections from previous Journal articles as the padding around the monograph I had done for Mackey."




James J. Gibsor. [from Boring & Lindsey, 1967, p. 131]

    "I had my own teaching, of course, during all this time (1928). I had a regular course in social psychology that ran throughout the year. After fifteen years of it I knew the field pretty well, but I never tried to publish in it. I also did my stint of teaching the introductory course and the beginning experimental course. But my specialty was advanced experimental psychology, which met six hours a week for thirty-two weeks a year. There were always eight to a dozen seniors in it, and we ran experiments on every problem.  They were generally new experiments, with little or no published evidence as to what the results might be. Bright students, especially girls, will work like demons when the outcome will be a contribution to knowledge. At the high point of this course the students would choose a problem from my offerings, run the subjects, analyze the data, and write up a report at the rate of one a month. I still have copies of the best of these papers, and every so often I find a published experiment that was first performed essentially by one of my students in the thirties. A good many were publishable. The apparatus was makeshift (but it was used only once), the statistics were elementary (but one gets a feeling for reliability), and a satisfying number of the questions we put to test gave clear answers. There must have been 500 or more such projects in my years at Smith, and I am sure that they constitute my main backlog of psychological knowledge. And there is still another backlog in the files of unanswered questions that I had to dream up in order to keep ahead of those lovely creatures who had a zeal for discovering how the mind works."





from L.A. James, The Conspiracy of the Gurus

“My first formal investigation ever came in my third year at McGill. I was one of thirteen honors students enrolled in the undergraduate experimental program. At that time, Hebb was still chairman of the department and his strong paternal influence imbued the whole department with the excitement of research. Though I did not know much psychology I was already an ardent researcher and dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about man. W. E. Lambert was then in charge of the course. It marked for me the beginning of an association that was to become decisive in my training. The competition among the thirteen of us was very keen and we worked long extra hours to prepare reports that were later to be published as the McGill Undergraduate Honors Theses. I did several reports and I no longer remember which one was included in the publication. One was a standard study of the bi-lateral transfer effect in mirror tracing; another was a tachistoscopis study showing the now well known inverse relationship between frequency and recognition threshold.

I remember getting very involved in the New Look reinterpretations in perception which was the raging controversy in the experimental Journals at the time (1956). G   's 1949 paper on "perceptual defense" was much discussed and McClairy's______ paper on "subliminal perception" challenged us with its implications of 'unconscious control" and "motivational research" "Madison Avenue Psychologists took off from that research). Still influenced by my involvement with the transfer of training problem, I was struck one day by an idea which turned into my first real piece of contribution to original knowledge. I believe it was a paper by Hockberg on crossmodality effects in perceptual processes that was the triggering influence. I devised an experiment to show that auditory-verbal repetition of nonsense words ("paralogs" -- as I called them in my report) produced a facilitation effect upon visual thresholds under tachistoscopic exposure. The results were positive but my excitement was completely shattered when I discovered while writing up the report that the experiment had already been run by Leo Postman, two years earlier (1954). Nevertheless, I retained the satisfaction that my experiment was more elegant than Postman's because it showed the non-modality transfer effect in both directions, viz. as well that visual exposure training sessions lowered auditory thresholds.


    I have never seen that part of the experiment done anywhere and today I wonder if it has ever been done. The procedures I devised for measuring auditory threshold was the following: I recorded each nonsense word ten times on a strip of tape, pronouncing the words with increasing loudness starting with an inaudible whisper; the subject was supposed to identify the nonsense word, and he received a score of 1 to 10 depending on when he made the correct identification. It was a simple-minded analogy based on tachistoscopic procedures for visual exposure, and of course could not have been accurate. Nevertheless, the results were sufficiently strong to confirm my cross-modality hypothesis.

    Lambert was impressed by my ingenuity and hired me that summer as a research assistant. In my senior year, I completed a Joint paper with him, on the phenomenon of "verbal satiation" published in 1960 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. That began my official career in print."







P. 16, top pare.: "...The point is that psychologists engaged in behavior modification make use of a variety of learning theories, but their actual operations can be described with ease by any one of a number of learning theories, the fine points that differentiate the theories being relatively minute and not at present reflected in psychologists' behavior in clinical settings." (italics added)









L.P. Ullmann and Leonard Krasner. Case Studies in Behavior Modification (Edited and Introduced by). New York, etc.: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 1965) [65-11668; introduction of 63 pages written for the student and as a major theoretical re-interpretation; subsequently influential according to L.P. Ullman (personal communications, office talk - LAJ 1/2/75)




contrast with

[Preface, Opening pare. p.v.]

"...We believed that it was ethically incumbent upon psychologists to increase the efficiency of the modification of maladaptive behavior. At a conceptual level, as psychologists we started with a behavioral or psychological model rather than with a medical or disease model." (italics added)

Historicizing Argument (Version 2. & ETC.)






[-> Exam Question: Discuss and evaluate the proposition advanced by Ullmann and Rrasner that [#4 above]]








Donald A. Riley,

    "Now the question is whether the Gestalt hypothesis is even testable - at least by the methods that have been employed. If not, does this suggest that the experiments done were a waste of time? Should psychologists spend more time thinking and less time doing experiments? There is probably no satisfactory way of answering. But questions do seem to become clearer in the course of experimentation and fact collection. Experiments are not merely a way of testing hypotheses, but they are also a way of becoming more clear about what questions should be asked and about questions which seem to lead nowhere. The present series of experiments has served this purpose well. Perhaps we are now in a position to ask further questions about memory with a greater likelihood of getting clear answers than in the past."

[Memory for Form in Postman, 1961, p. 463.]







"In 1968 I had already realized what my teachers and colleagues neglected in their writings that the key to discourse analysis lay in the study of how utterances are organized sequentially. This represented my solution to the dilemma of how to attack the problem of "linguistic context." That is, the context of a situated utterance is to be regarded as the adjoining utterance. Similarly, the context of the second utterance (next to the first) is its adjoining utterance, and so on; in this manner, a piece of discourse or a piece of a conversational record can be broken up into structural components connected or linked into a surface temporal chain. In my paper then, I wrote as follows:

    First, my proof that context for situated utterances could not be linguistic:

    "Discourse is elliptical. Consider the following examples: (la) "Hi! How are you?" (lb) "Fine thanks! And you?"; (2a) "Is Mr. Jones in?" (2b) "My husband is out of town."; (3a) "I don't seem to have a pencil." (3b) 'why don't you use mine?" The answer in (lb) represents a contextual ellipsis; the full grammatical sentence can be reconstructed on the basis of linguistic cues in the question. In fact, computer programs can decode such elliptical by a mechanical application of a few transformation rules (Holzman, 1968). In (2b), the answer cannot be reconstructed solely on the basis of the linguistic context. It is an instance of "telegraphic ellipsis" inferential reasoning of a non-linguistic sort is required to recognize that (2b) is in deed an answer to the question in (2a).--etc." (Jakobovits, 1969, pp. 314-315).

    It is a simple but sufficient proof, but it went unnoticed in the then raging controversy about the necessity of extending the scope of "linguistic" context for an utterance. Incidentally, my reference to Hobzman was undoubtedly a ritualizing piece of fraud, since I am sure I did not then (nor today) know enough linguistics to evaluate the viability of such a mechanical application. Also, I note today upon its rereading, that my examples were unnecessarily stylized, which tends no doubt to reduce its face validity. A better example would have been one free of the idiomatic ritual in the (3a) (3b) exchange (e.g. (a) "It's a shame Diane didn't call.", (b)"I wonder if the weather will hold up." -- which can be reconstructed as coherent discourse only through some argument related to the setting, such as the previous topicalization between participant (a) and (b)).

    Second, my demonstration that context for situated utterances derives from an interstitial argument:

    "The juxtaposition of sentences in discourse implies relations between their propositions that are not overtly expressed in linguistic form.


    (4) You can forget about the golf game, It's raining. How about bridge? I'll call John and Mary to see if they're interested. After the first sentence each subsequent sentence is to be understood in terms of the logical implications of the preceding sentence: "We can't play golf because it's raining. Bridge can be played indoors despite the weather. I'll see if John and Mary want to play since it takes four people to play bridge." The structure of the sequence is demonstrated by the fact that the sentences which compose it cannot be rearranged in any order and still retain the same significance of what is being expressed." (Jakobovits, 1969, p.315).

    Again the example I offer is unnecessarily stylized (thus detracting from its universal significance). Still, it is clear that I came to grasp in my understanding the essential significance of adjacency or collocation in discourse: not merely that utterances in discourse are connected (as expressed in the slogan of the day: "studies in connected discourse"); their connectivity is self-evident. That was an empty realization; definitionally vacuous. But instead: that kind of connectivity is to be stipulated which reifies structural components of discourse as interconnected units whose relationship is to be explicated by a syntax of logical argumentation. This was a definitive empirical direction."





[Crutchfield and Krech, Understanding of the History of Psychology, Chapter 1, in Postman, 1961, p.8]

Nature of the Book

    "Each of the eleven succeeding chapters in this book is a narrative history of a specific problem important in current psychology. Each chapter is written by an active research worker specializing in the area of his chapter's concern. Each of these psychologists has looked back upon the history of his problem and has sought to trace its development. He begins with the earliest modern statement of the problem and its first "solution". He describes the reactions of the scientific world to this solution. Briefly, and in simple language, he then provides the reader with the successive highlights of the history of the problem up to recent times. The author identifies for the reader, the key figures in this history; he recounts the tale of these key figures as they have walked proudly into blind alley's and stumbled blindly into break throughs. The reader sees new answers replacing old ones; he sees the "same" problem subtly changing; he sees rival theories in prolonged conflict. Liberal quotations from original sources are given, so that the reader can recapture the experiences associated with some of the great names and events in psychology, as well as put the achievements and failures of the past in their proper historical context in the then contemporary situation. By this technique, it is hoped, the reader can better appreciate how day-to-day results are obtained, new experimental techniques and methods come into being, further experiments are planned, conducted and then revised -- and through all this he can see psychology slowly, slowly developing."



                                            : TEACHING PRACTICES


from Leon A. James, The conspiracy of the Gurus.

    "But I didn't feel I was a full-fledged member of the legitimate tribal compound until I was accredited by the Graduate School to direct Ph.D. dissertations two years after I had joined the Illinois faculty. Until then, I was permitted to sit on dissertation committees, but Charles Osgood remained the dominant figure in all of these since the students I worked with were "his students" officially. Being a close junior associate to a famous psychologist was terribly exciting and filled me with secret pride. "Charlie" as everyone used to refer to the former president of APA -it took me two years to work up enough courage to address him that way, and then, in letters and notes, only, for a long while, --- used to treat me with formality and, I fancied, respect. He was extremely busy all the time he was back on campus, which was only part of the time -- he was an avid traveler, -- but he made me feel that I could drop in on him any time. He would make me sit there in his huge office in Gregory Hall (the office used to belong to Wibur Shramm) while he was finishing up dictating letters and dealing with people on the phone. I remember he had a three-dimensional model on one of the desks in the office of "the three faces of Eve", a well-known study he had conducted in collaboration with the psychiatrist who worked with the famous case of multiple personality (later it appeared as a movie starring Joanne Woodward). That study was influential in establishing the viability of semantic differential as a tool in clinical work. Then there was a molecular model, complete with colored plastic balls connected by long sticks, of one of the figures reproduced in The Measurement of Meaning (1957) and dealing with the application of the semantic differential to a political study of the 1952 presidential elections -- a work he did with his two collaborators, George Suci and Percy Tannenbaum. Osgood, Suci, and Percy appeared on a photograph on the wall, the three authors of the influential work on the semantic differential poring in front of some more plastic models of semantic space.

    It turned out, ironically, that in my six years at Illinois (from 1964 to 1970) I failed to turn out a single Ph.D. dissertation under my official direction. The closest I came to was with Ulton Rice, who had been my research assistant for two years, and wrote a largely negative draft of a doctoral dissertation on semantic satiation. He became depressed by the recalcitrance of the data to show the effects he had been expecting and decided, despite my advice to the contrary to postpone completion of his degree work. Last I heard of him, he was happy teaching courses at Virginia Polytechnic (I believe --- still undegreed!)"




    "In the grammar of science, psychology must be in both the nominative and the accusative case. It must, in other words, study itself as it studies behavior. This means being self-conscious about the processes of science. It is therefore apparent why psychology seeks to study, carefully and analytically the development and history of psychology. Psychology's concern with scientific history can be understood as a concern with what is part of its own proper scientific subject matter."

[Cructchfield and Krech, Understanding the History of Psychology,Chapter 1, in Postman, 1961, p.5]



HISTORY OF IDENTITY: Leo Postman (1961)

    "The importance of historical sophistication for the cumulative and orderly progress of a science, and especially of a young discipline like psychology, needs hardly to be defended. Without such sophistication, Boring warned us more than thirty years ago in the preface to his History of Experimental Psychology, the investigator "sees the present in distorted perspective, he mistakes old facts and old views for new, and he remains unable to evaluate the significance of new movements and methods." As the volume of psychological research expands at an accelerated rate, this judgment is more valid than ever."

    [in Preface to Psychology in the Making Histories of Selected Research Problems, ed. by Leo Postman, N.Y., Alfred Knopf, 1961]





from Leon A James, The Conspiracy of the Gurus

    "An episode in my memory that highlights this problem is quite revealing. I had applied for Associate Membership in APA during my third year of graduate school at McGill (1963) seeing this step as a most significant ritual--indeed, I recall the intense excitement I experienced when my name appeared in the subsequent Directory. I needed a recommendation from an APA Fellow to apply for admission in Division 3, Experimental Psychology. One day I worked up enough nerve to ask the illustrious former president of APA, D.O. Hebb, whom I accosted at coffee break. Everyone in the department at McGill knew me as "Lambert's student" and I was apprehensive about the request to Hebb because there were vague unspecified rumors in the department that Hebb considered Lambert insufficiently rigorous in his theory and research - Hebb's response devastated me. He simply refused and said that he does not think my work with Lambert qualified as "experimental psychology." Undoubtedly, Hebb was being unrealistic in claiming during our brief conversation that "verbal learning" was not experimental in view of the on-going work of Underwood, Postman, Jenkins, Osgood -- all of whom were members or fellows of Division 3 (subsequently, presidents). But at that time I was too much of a greenhorn to realize this and Lambert himself was still fighting to establish his legitimacy at McGill. He did very well over the years, after I left McGill, and eventually was promoted to Full Professor (but not before he threatened to leave, having been by-passed twice in favor of Dalbin Bindra and Peter Milner).

Also, he must have succeeded in overcoming Hebb's hesitations about his theorizing because they later published a joint theoretical paper on Chomsky's notions of innate ideas---which incidentally, they were against. At any rate, after Hebb's shattering refusal, I never talked to him again even though we continued to greet one another in the hallways (even years later when I spent my first sabbatical from Illinois back at McGill). I no longer remember who sponsored me but I did get admitted to Division 3, so there must have been someone. It even occurs to me (though I can't be sure it's not a fantasy subsequently elaborated! how strange!) that Hebb later changed his mind and did sponsor me. I wonder if he has any memory of the episode."


INTELLECTUAL SCOPE: "Early Perspectives"


Gardner Murphy pin Boring & Lindsey, 1967, p. 260]

"Early Psychological Perspectives"

The kind of psychology that I found myself believing in during the early Columbia years was simply the broadest deepest, most comprehensive psychology that I knew how to comprise. I did not believe that being systematic necessitated giving up varied interests in rich material wherever it can be found. In the summer of 1920, while working with F. L. Wells at McLean Hospital, I had read through the two-volume William James' Principles of Psychology (1890), and loved it utterly Working with Woodworth was a delight, and I held "the middle of the road" position so firmly that I could never see how anybody could want to give up the large vista which you could see if you are willing to turn your head. This did not mean at all being orthodox in beliefs. It meant getting a stance from which you can see everything as you travel along. It made sense at Columbia, and although there was no strong positive "ism", doctrine, dogma, or even method to be obtained there, I was happy in the catholicity of the spirit which radiated from Woodworth, and to some degree from all of his associates."






from Leon A. James, The Conspiracy of the Gurus

    "By the time I met Barbara Gordon (early in 1968), my enamourment with Chomsky's revolution had begun to de-intensify. I had arrived at a dead end, held there by my inability to exit from the intellectual capsule of communication theory. My dilemma was clearly evident in the paper I delivered at the 1968 annual "4 C's" convention and published in the December 1969 issue of College Composition and Communication. The paper represented my first hesitant attempts to break free from the attitude then prevalent in psycholinguistics (and still today!) that language behavior was properly to be investigated through experimentally obtained judgments about language behavior. I was making valiant I (it appeared to me) efforts at keeping abreast of what others were doing in the field (i.e. psycholinguistics and verbal learning which included thinking viewed behavioristically and concept formation), spending a good deal of my time filling and filing index cards full of information about innumerable studies. Perhaps under the duress of all this busy-work I lost enthusiasm for it; or perhaps my own creative talents pushed me towards a more personal and (as it turned out) iconoclastic reinterpretation.

At that time, in 1968, I stated the problem as follows: "There is a central issue in all discussions relating to [Communication via language] which must be dealt with before all else. This is the question of whether [linguistic express ions] are fixed vehicles that carry meaning , like a fountain pen that holds ink, or are they more like the ink itself which spreads on the paper in varying shapes under the will of the hand that holds it. Do [words] refer to things, do {utterances denote [propositions], or is it that [the] speaker [himself] [using words] refers to [this or that] and the writer, composing phrases and sentences denotes perceptions and cognitions?" (Jakobovits, 1969, introduction). (italics added)

    The metaphor I used to cast the dilemma appears to me in retrospect as a striking contrast to the then prevalent sacred cow adage of psycholinguists whereby language is a system while speech is a performance. This conception allowed linguists and psychologists from getting into each other's hair since it neatly separated their potentially competitive domain of psycholinguistics: thus, at our conferences, we all listened to our linguist colleagues web imaginative and entertaining "rule governed systems" and we called that the "psycholinguistics of linguistic competence." 

I listened to the psychologists who presented ingenious and entertaining variations of stories and data about how college students judged what linguists called "sentences" -- and I called that the "psycholinguistics of performance." Chomsky's much quoted "distinction" between competence and performance was then (and is still today in 1976) the manifesto that sanctioned the fruitful new collaboration between psychology and linguistics. My own dilemma, and its eventual resolution in my definitive work on ethnosemantics (which was the direct outcome of my collaboration with Barbara Gordon --- more on this later) is interestingly visible to me in retrospect in the statement I wrote in 1968, quoted above. The underlined expressions serve as a convenient reconstruction I offer here, in my title for the current perspective:

    (a) Communication Via Language:

    It is clear that at the time of that writing I was still saddled by a belief in this slogan. It projects the standard communication model as represented by the behaviorist tradition as it was adapted from Shannon and Weaver's information theory. I had acquired my allegiance to it second hand from Lambert, Osgood, Maclay, and others chiefly Osgood, whose mediation paradigm served as a unifying theoretical system. Later, after I had abandoned my involvement in communication theory, I read Shannon and Weaver's brief wartime monograph and was amazed to find that they were quite explicitly aware of the absurdity of taking their model as a serious Psychological theory of human interaction. This information did not ever reach me through the second hand promoters of it -- and quite understandably since, in their perspective, they were "extending" the model, or at least, "working on" the possibility of extension.

    (b) Linguistic Expressions:

The idea that human speech is an interpersonal exchange made possible by the advent of language upon the scene is a legend that has been transmitted in all seriousness by generations of venerable scientists, unless that too, is a legend transmitted by college professors' The idea fits nicely into the biological evolutionary view of man which was an alignment de rigueur, necessitated by ("neo-behaviorist" was a much liked self reference).

    Though my metaphor of the ink and fountain reflects my beginning transcendence of de Saussure's langue/parole sacred cow, the entire sentence shows that I use "linguistic expressions" as an earnest nominal. That is, I was still operating under a formulation that allowed such a notion as a linguistic expression. It was only after my intersection with Barbara Gordon that I came to see quite clearly the fiction of linguistics. It was a bold and dizzying gesture, when one day (Ca. 1969) I declared to her that in my opinion language does not exist. She was speechless at first, then uncomprehending, then counter-argumentative, then hesitantly accepting, and eventually, a proponent herself (in our Workshops for Language Teachers --see below). My argument was simple and radicalist, like a modern age NeoCartesian affected by East-Meets West in psychology (Alan Watts' delightful analysis of western psychotherapy which I thoroughly liked).

(c) The Composition of Utterances. Propositions Sentences that Denote Perceptions Cognitions.

    Lenneberg's influence on me through his well received Biological Foundations of Language (19 ) was decisive in clarifying in my mind earlier misconceptions I gained through an uncritical acceptance of the ideas or Bruner and Roger Brown on cognition and semantics. Lenneberg's precise style and easy clarity transmitted to me the distinction I needed to draw between the proposition that words tag things versus words tag the cognitive practices of a community. Osgood, Bruner, and Brown, perhaps because they tended to denigrate the Skinnerian insights as simpleminded, failed to grasp this distinction in all their writings; possibly, too, the "words tag things" proposition seems more in tune with S-R habit theory, and indeed Staats, for one, went on from Hull and Osgood to develop this S-R approach as a behaviorist) account of "complex mental processes" and socialization (see his recent Social Behaviorism. 197 ). Lenneberg's notion that words tag cognitive Practices echoed in me to hook up with my reading of Skinner's Verbal Behavior and his definition of verbal as operant that are maintained by community Practices. At the same time, my reading of Austin and Searle and Vendler (on whose course I sat in during the LSA Summer Linguistics Seminar at Illinois in 1968) gave me an entirely new perspective on "data". They showed me what I had failed to understand from linguistics, namely that "linguistic context" frames "linguistic content", or in later perspective, "situated sentences" derive their interactional (still later: transactional) significance from the setting. It is at that point of my theoretical development that I met Barbara Gordon.

    She was an early Friesian linguistics. Most of her classmates at Columbia in the early 1950's went on with Fries to develop the basic techniques of structural linguistics, that facet of it that had to do with language teaching. They, and their colleagues, later Lado, went on to create the phenomenon of TESOL -- Teaching English as a Second Language to Speakers of Other Languages (also known as ESL -- English as a Second Language).

    Applied linguistics was deeply involved in socio-politics right from the start, it seems to me. My association with William Mackey, the internationally noted authority in language pedagogy for many years, (about which I talk later in greater detail), has involved me with the international implications of "linguistic imperialism" -- the tendency of major cultures to export themselves, including their language. So I got involved for awhile with the teaching of English as a second language as well as the teaching of modern language in High Schools and Colleges. (see below for this phase of my involvement). Barbara Gordon, on the other hand, was more particularly interested in the effects of language upon the intellectual development of children, particularly blacks and Cubans, and so got involved with linguists, anthropologists, educators, and psychologists all of whom formed an apparently tight group around the slogan of "educating the culturally disadvantaged." This included the heavy programs under Head Start and Public Laboratories under Title VI and others. However, by the time of our meeting in 1968, she had run out of steam, dissatisfied with the effectiveness of big research projects as a tool for educational change. She had accumulated extensive files consisting of analysis of test items from various sources used as instructional materials. Her notion had been that the key to the intellectual development of non-standard speakers of English lay in teaching minority cultures the standardized skills of language use as evidenced in the performance of "school achievers".

So, one of our first efforts together consisted in attempting to delineate the "communicative competence" (later, transactional competence) of the school achiever. We reviewed the various taxonomic proposals involving a classification system for intellectual language skills such as the work of Garvin on semantics and logical relation types and the work of Borman at the University of Chicago who was developing computerized approaches of discourse analysis. However, our intellectual drive seemed to be headed in another direction, as it turned out, and we still have yet to go back to those files and integrate that work into our understanding.

In my current perspective (1976), the key step I took in 1968 that freed me from the blinders that still hampers psycholinguist today, had to do with the realization that the study of language behavior must start with a description of situated utterances, that is, with the things people do with each other when engaged in speech behavior. There was not a single psychological approach or theory that dearth with this issue. The work of "developmental psycholinguists" purported to deal with descriptions of speech behavior of children at various ages, but the orientation upon the discovery of "linguistic rules" detracted from the task of describing the transactional significance of the child's speech behavior: the emphasis remained exclusively on syntactic and semantic issues sparked by the linguistic controversies in transformational grammar and generative semantics (as it is clearly documented in Semantics, an influential book I edited with Danny Steinberg in 1970).

Instead, I began to read the literature in "cognitive anthropology", on philosophy, and in sociolinguistics. It seemed to me, at the time, that the people in these fields were more responsive to the issues I wanted to deal with; namely, discourse analysis, the specification of linguistic context, the description of speech acts, the construction of taxonomic classification schemes for discovering the orientation units of participants in a setting, and the various underlying mechanisms of transactional exchanges, including the dynamics of topicalization work and relationship.

(Insert Note in 1999:  As I reread this piece, it's worth marking here the fact that I went on to work out each of these problems with original solutions.  Please see the directory of my articles, and especially these:

All my writings since 1976 benefited from the amazing intellect of Dr. Diane Nahl, whom I married in 1981.  You will see her name on most of them.)

(Back to 1976)

Even so, my ability to stay in touch with the divergent work of others kept dwindling as I spent more and more time going deeper and deeper into wherever it was that occupied my focus. Between 1971 and 1975 I spent almost no time reading our colleague's work and was pretty much cut off from outside sources. The four years were spent as an exciting adventure in intellectual discovery. I wrote a great deal of lecture notes, parts of books and papers---over 1,000 pages of erudite theorizing on discourse and social settings, most of it being quite difficult reading, yet my students were able to write interesting and helpful commentaries in their class papers. The topics were not beyond their understanding and participation.  I spent a great deal of effort, with Diane Nahl, directing and supervising the students to produce hefty and interesting reports for the digital library project called the Daily Round Archives that became the centerpiece of my teaching and research  for the past 20 years.

In  December 1975 and during the ensuing months, I developed many of the investigative techniques for a new field I dubbed "ethnosemantics,"  such as the "ES-Probe" and the 'relationship Probe" as well as various formalized proposals for handling "topic fragmentation" in discourse.  I shall talk about this in greater detail, later, but first, I must outline more substantively the conceptual issues that led me to radically change my involvements with the intellectual tradition that fostered my early professional career."


Barbara Gordon, Early Educational Influence

    "She was a protˇgˇe of Aileen Kitchin, who was Fries' earliest emissary to Education, bringing structural linguistics to Columbia in the 1940's. Her involvement in applied linguistics dates to 1950 and onwards, but before that, as a precocious notable young girl in college Wisconsin), it wee her fascination with aesthetics that led her to linguistics.

    She was basically an esthete--a philosopher queen whose personal peculiarity was a precocious intellectual obsession with the limits of rules in pragmatic systems. She picked up in linguistics, and in Art History, the scent of universality framing man's social existence --hence her own. It was a personal and secret passion that led her later in the 60's to the role of Joan of Arc in applied Linguistics. Her radicalism was formed in the emotionally explosive academic atmosphere that imbued American universities in the 1940's and early 50"s. It was then the aftermath of James Dewey, and of Horace Mann, and of the Second World War, which had decisively affected American Jews towards Pragmatic liberalism in education.


L.A. James: Early Educational Influences

    "There are few basic issues in life that are as fundamental as the issue of sequence, so it is not surprising that psychology--being the science of human life, is more deeply involved in this than in any other topic association, contiguity, adjacency, stimulus-response link, operant conditioning, reflex, habit, attitude, set, reaction, response, cause-effect relation, interference, conflict, valence, discriminate value, functional equivalent, regression factor, standard of comparison, proactive ant retroactive inhibition, normal distribution, and many others in a large list that I or my colleagues could draw up off the cuff are operational definitions directly derived from the doctrine of sequence or the temporal Parameter in Psychology. The theoretical derivatives of sequence as a temporal organizing frame for all activity or human behavior are, of course, function and hierarchy --- the two work-horse principles of all mini-theories known in psychology today: behavioristic (functional), cognitive (Hierarchical), Gestalt and transactional "hierarchical-functional or pragmatic). Some examples might be in order. I shall cite particular instances of historical significance in four separate areas: neurophysiology, psycholinguistics, mental tests, and statistics I choose these particular ones because they are issues that mark some important steps in the evolution of my understanding of psychology.

    (a) neurophysiology:

In my graduate school seminar with Hebb--the seminar at McGill' -- psychology was centered in the brain Everyone around me was either doing things to rats' brains or drawing pictures about the human brain that looked like those transistorized color TV. things the repairman on the commercial replaces. I got into the act myself in a big way. I stayed away from rats, as it seemed expected of me being in "social", but in my honors thesis, I drew little electrical circuit diagrams titles "cell assemblies" ant "phase Sequences"--using Hebb's terms, which explained the cross-modality transfer effects I Demonstrated (see  xx). Lambert was quite enthused by the ingenuity of my explanation ant put me on top of the honor list--which landed me an assistantship with him that following summer. It starlet my involvement with the effects of repetition in behavior ant lead to a fruitful series of experimental papers (see  xx). Mb first publication in a psychological journal dealt with an experimental test of peripheral vs. central theory of meaning viewed as a stimulus-response connection (Lambert and Jakobovits, 1960; for an account, see In 1966 I published a short note in the prestigious Psychological Review showing by the clever selection of quotations from Skinner and Osgood's work that their concerns were overlapping and their paradigms equivalent ant indistinguishable. It was quite a bold thing for me to do because it was at a time I was involved in a close collaboration with Osgood on the cross-cultural semantic differential project (see my entertaining account,  here) and could not afford strained relationships. As it turned out, Osgood took matter quixotically ant muses about the inevitable misunderstandings of ideas of great men of science -clearly he was enjoying the limelight of topical discussion that the article fostered.

    The theme of all this busy neurophysiologizing, whether through biochemical circuits--as in the work of Hebb, T.R. Milners, and their students or through cognitive hierarchical systems of interconnected mediation responses--as in the work of Hull, Osgood, Staats, Mowrer, can be seen to relate to the temporal parameter of behavior, namely the issue of sequence. Hebb used to emphasize Von Send en's work on post-operative blindness recovery effects in recognizing visual shapes delayed response studies in animals on "set", and Lashley's argument about aerial effects in rapid sequencing, as the crucial arguments that require the study of central neural mechanisms as the key to understanding the mind. Osgood used to cite the conditioning work of Pavlov and that Razran on Semantic generalization as the crucial evidence that requires an extension of single-stage S-R theory ("kiddy-cart theory" as he used to refer to Skinnerians); his solution, based on Hull and similar to Mowrer's (who wee also a student of Hull's at Yale along with Osgood) was first presented in 1953 as " m e Mediation Hypothesis" in his magnum opus Method and Theory in Experimental Psychology -- a very important book that formed one of the holy trio of graduate training in North America in the 1950's (Woodworth & Schlosberg; S.S. Stevens; and C.E. Osgood). (He called his own theory "Model-T Ford", later " The Monster").

    (b) Psycholinguistics:

Here I have in mind the significance of the temporal parameter as it affected the notion of "connected" discourse. The particular form that the Chomskyan revolution took, namely the standardization of a formalized meta-linguistics called "generative transformational system", though quite salutary for linguistics--since it unified the field into a single viable school, was however less clearly beneficial for psycholinguistics. It felt to me that too much effort was spent on the polemics of Chomskyan philosophical notions on inmate mechanism of a purely hypothetical nature; though the overall effect was experimentally productive, it fell of its own weight embroiled in unproductive issues about the psychological reality of linguistic Structures. Osgood kept making valiant efforts to keep the S-R Monster alive amidst, among others, Chomsky's reputed "devastating" criticism of Skinner's behavior theory of language, and noted defections "to the new paradigm" by old verbal learning stalwarts (among them Jenkins and Deese who presented their official change of camp in presidential addresses to Division 3). For the volume on Semantics, which Danny Steinberg and I edited and dedicated to him, Osgood prepared a major last ditch effort to circumvent the theoretical difficulties that emerged in the much discussed Osgood-Fodor exchange on the viability of the S-R mediation paradigm (widely reprinted). It was an important attempt upon whose success rested not only the survival of a major behavioristic paradigm that held up strongly for two decades, but was also the justifying rationale for the importance of the semantic differential technique; the latter rose in popularity as a research and applied tool in social, clinical, and educational work yielding several hundred experimental reports in the literature in the decade between 1957 and 1967.

    Osgood's paper in our Semantics volume (Steinberg and Jakobovits, 1970) we entitled "Where do sentences come from?" and it was his explicit attempt to deal with the temporal issue in connected discourse.   True to his position as a "materialistic monist"--which he self-consciously maintained throughout his long and notable career, and which he opposed to such views as mine (he once accusingly referred to my stance as a "dualist in disguise"'), he continued to argue for a performance model of language behavior acquired through perceptual process of conditioning and mediated by secondary processes of associations linked into a psycho-dynamic hierarchical system basically of the Hullian type in which motivation plays a central theoretical role. Osgood's account of the production of sentences attempted to show how "presuppositions" are established by non-linguistic contexts, viz. perceptual habits of recognition which he identified with "semantics". He insisted that the "semantic motor" drives "the syntactic cart" and the former is to be understood in terms of perceptual and cognitive habits. He used the notion of "paraphrasing" to account for 'Where sentences come from and go to" thus, perceptual-cognitive antecedents, which are primary and which define performance context, are transformed by "paraphrasing" into linguistic structures. The latter's left-to-right sequence temporally is thus to be derived from a psychological theory of habit formation organized in a multidimensional hierarchy. In the overview that introduces the section of Semantics containing Osgood's paper (along with contributions by Lennenberg, Fodor, George Miller, Bever and Rosenbaum), Danny Steinberg discusses Osgood's solution as inadequate "In his paper, in this section, Osgood attempts to Justify the behaviorist system. This attempt cannot be regarded as successful, however, since Osgood does not specify precisely how any of the interesting language phenomena which he discusses (presuppositions, center embedding, etc.) may be accounted for within 0a behaviorist system" (p.490). Needless to say, Osgood was not at all happy about the unfavorable frame we offered for a presentation, and after this episode, my contacts with him cooled off considerably.

    (c) mental testing:

I shall cite only one example, the case of intelligence testing, to illustrate how the temporal organization of sequential units played a crucial role in the development of the rational for the measurement of intelligence. One need only to examine the test items for intelligence tests, e.g. the WISC, to realize that sequential left-to-right organization is the major single operational specification of the various sub-skills of mental competence. Thus, the typical standard procedure consists of asking the child to arrange in a sequence a number of cards upon which are depicted units of behavioral or transactional episodes (e.g. card 1: man getting out of bed stopping alarm clock; card 2: wife pointing at kitchen clock while man is finishing breakfast; card 3: man running after the bus; card 4: man sitting at his office desk). The child is given a predetermined number of points for each item depending on how long it took him to produce the correct sequence.

    Thus, the notion of intelligence is to be understood as a verbal competence involving essentially and primarily the ability to recognize sequences of predefined units such that it forms a "coherent" story-line. Viewed in these terms, the intense controversy about the inadmissibility of intelligence testing of non-standard cultural sub-groups, a controversy that had serious socio-political implication in the 1960's can be seen to revolve crucially around the appropriateness of the predefined units for children with a different cultural background. The argument here clearly points to sub-cultural differences in units (viz. particular test item components) rather than in sequencing as the invalidating factor.

(d) statistics:

I shall consider here the rationales involved in the Null Hypothesis and in regression statistics based on the correlation matrix.




[Quest ion: What is the most basic of all intellectual issues?

Answer: "To me, the most basic of all intellectual issues is the issue of REIFICATION. "In the beginning was the word" : that can be taken as a characterizing title of the supreme socio-functional role that our species has attributed to the magic of the word indeed, in thought and in talk, the word, in the form of dialogue, reigns supreme in our individual psyche. The content of consciousness is word-dependent in that the awareness of our actuality is constituted by the cultural frames of REGISTER (viz. proper operational procedures of individual conduct or BIOGRAPHICAL ENACTMENT) and by the cultural topics of sanctioned myth and legend (mystery, cosmology, ethnicity, standard topics) (see STANDARDIZED IMAGININGS).

    "Standardized imaginings are episodal events reconstructed as narrative history. On the daily round, individuals tell each other narrative stories of "what happened" and "why it's that way" and "how so-and-so did such-and-such." These dramatic reifications are treated by everyone as representations of reality and are assigned a pragmatic status of existence (see: How we keep track of what people say and do: REPUTATION, LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY: DYADIC DISPUTES: etc.).

    Thus, the individual's actuality--his actual surrounds or "experiential world"--is a REIFIED and DRAMATIZED reconstruction. Biographical record is the conventionalized and stylized format of historicalizing reconstructions. The processes of reifying actuality is the way of man and thus characterizes our species. Beyond that, who knows?" [ by Leon James (1/76)


[Question: "Summarize Joseph Campbell's - Conclusion chapter to 0a stud, of mythology in The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology (1961, the Viking Press, N.Y.) (pp. 518-523)] The Functions of Ritual: Mythology

    According to Campbell, myth has four functions: (1) the reification of the mysterious; (2) the dramatizations of cosmological history; (3) the formation of ethnic identity; and (4) the authentication of biographical record (individual destiny).

    About mystery (1), he says that it is maintained by symbols that can be found (by "seers" and "creative poets") though not invented or produced by talk or definition.

    About cosmology (2), he says that it must be congruent with the actuality of experience and knowledge peculiar to an ethnic sub-group.

    About ethnic identity (3) he says that the individual's conduct on the daily round is standardized by tribal customs; or rites (standard operation procedures) these customs being historically conventionalized and bans misted across generations (assimilation and enculturation); they consist of a shared "system of sentiments" that serve the ends of the group, whatever these may happen to be (e.g. survival concerns of tribal vs. agricultural vat technological urban versions of the daily round) (see also: "his ideal roles" and "archetypes").

    About biographical record (4) he says that the topical content of myth supplies the dramatic format and content of legends as lived autobiographies of actual living heroes of the past (see also: STANDARDIZED IMAGININGS); [the latter is a reading of his "The fourth function of my biographies is to initiate the individual into the order of realities of his own spiritual enrichment and realization." (p.521)---which is the only relevant sentence (the rest he devotes, instead, to a diatribe of ideology where his role appears as an existential humanist congruent with the sentiments of Sartre]. by Leon James, January 1976]





    Problem: to design an experiment -- say, suitable for an M.A. thesis in psychology -- on cataloguing practices involving Pronominal attribution (as in: I, you, he, she, we, they, my, your, theirs, when contrasted in social settings, e.g. "Don't touch it' That's MY toy" or "It's us against them! and etc.).

    Solution: standard design involving fixed materials to be presented to in dependent groups; each group's treatment condition is determined by its assignment to an experimental condition; the treatment conditions have been fixed as follows (through creative discourse thinking procedures not here cataloged!): the systematic parametric exploration of various theoretically motivated (and justified explicitly') combinations of pronominal frames for unvarying slot-sentences, as follows:





Category I: Uncrossed Lines (CHART)

(a) Your accomplishments catalogue your skills.

(b) My deeds reveal my abilities.

(c) m e pictures he draws show his perspectives.

(d) The pathways they trace indicate their traveling habits.

(e) Their accomplishments catalogue their skills.

(f) Your deeds reveal your abilities. (etc.)

(NOTE: full design will show exact manipulations dictated by various methodological doctrines, e.g. random distribution, systematic assignation, exhaustion and recursive routines, etc.)



Category II: Crossed Lines (CHART)

(a) My accomplishments reveal my abilities.

(b) My accomplishments indicate my perspectives.

(c) Your actions catalogue your traveling habits.

(d) Your accomplishments reveal your abilities.

(e) Your accomplishments indicate your perspectives.

(f) Our accomplishments reveal our abilities.

(g) The pictures they draw indicate the skills they possess.

(etc.) (Note: exact comparisons to be determined by considerations of balanced designs.)

Commentary: various dependent measures are to be identified from theoretical considerations, to be developed. An outline of a particular argument might be the following:

(i) Importance of problem and its relevant implications:




   (important for theories of "ego identity" and "modeling behavior")

(ii) Illustration of some dependent measures:

- "Rate these sentences in terms of their wisdom according to your own understanding of people, using 10 for "a lot of wisdom in it" and 1 for "a foolish assertion", with 5 for "something most everyone would know and believe to be true." Average group scores are to be contrasted for pronominal influence on judged wisdom of assertions.




Psychology is about the vision of man's resonance to the world. 1967: paraphrasing Gardner Murphy (p.261)

"Autobiography improves with age as it ripens into History."

    1967: Brumer & Lindzey (Preface) "The intellectual antecedents of contemporary psychology are to be found in many different scientific disciplines and philosophical traditions. Today psychology has more histories than one."

    1961: Leo Postman (Preface)

"Psychology's concern with its history might be termed vestigial."

    1961: Crutchfield and Krech (p.4)

"Psychology probably ranks above all other sciences in the persistence with which it has engaged the attention of mankind over the ages."

    1961: Crutchfield and Krech (p.4) "The accumulated lore about the behavior of man, passed down from generation to generation, sifted (somewhat) and tested (somewhat) by time, has in it a considerable number of fairly respectable generalizations and insights." (italics added)

1961: Crutchfield and Krech, ditto

[Question: Discuss the particular identity claims derivable from the argument structure expressed by the underlined words in the above historicalizing assertion.]




[BURKE: Rhetoric of Motives, 1950, p. 184]



   ="there is nothing 'transcendent' about

- -> the positive ORDER of things (viz. strict localization in time and place --. "motion") ("Perception") [(see THE PLANETARY REGISTER)]

<-> the dialectical ORDER of things (viz. no localization in time and place -- ("action")("idea")





LAJ---30 mins.


4/1976 Aristotle: Topics (Bk.I)

(#1) Arguing is the process whereby people establish, maintain, and change opinions. There is advantage in knowing how to transform generally accepted opinions and to do so always without saying anything that will obstruct us. m at knowledge is called "dialectical reasoning."

(#2) Reasoning is a mode of arguing that leads one from the generally accepted to the unexpected. (a) It is a demonstration when the premises of the argument (viz. the beginning point of the argument being made) are self-evident, primary, true, indisputable --for to dispute them is tantamount to questioning our daily reality, i.e. some sort of 'antipragmatic' game. Within these normal limits, reasoning from such self evident beginning to an unexpected conclusion amounts to a 'demonstration. (b) Reasoning from a generally accepted opinion to a an unexpected conclusion is 'dialectical reasoning.' "Generally accepted" refers to the case where the opinion in question is heldby all, or by the majority, or by the most notable and illustrious of them. (c) It is "contentious reasoning" when the departing premises seem on the surface to be generally accepted, but are not really so upon examination. (d) "Mix-reasonings" refers to arguments based on a special consensus, neither true nor primary but assumed for particular purposes (e.g. "geometry").

(#3) Arguments start with "propositions". me subjects on which reasonings take place are "problems." Propositions and problems are formed from the following four elements: definition(that part which indicated the essential feature), property (that part which indicates specific features), genus(that part which indicates the class), and accident (that part which indicates the particularities). Problems and propositions differ in their presuppositions: a proposition grants that which a problem raises.

E.g. "Is animal a genus for man or not?" is a problem while reversing the presupposition makes it into a proposition: "Animal is a genus for man, is it not?"

(#4)(a) Paraphrases that signify a thing's essence are definitions. Since a name does not signify a thing's essence, a definition must be a phrase. Arguments about definition are mostly concerned with sameness and difference. To show sameness is insufficient to establish a definition, but to show a difference always demolishes a definition.

(b) Paraphrases that predicate a chronic particularity to a thing are properties. E.g. "talking" is a property of man, but not "sleeping", since the latter is not chronic: man does not always sleep and other animals also sleep---hence "sleeping" is not a property of man, while "talking" is (all men talk; only men talk).

(c) (to be continued)

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