| Constructive alternativism
|"We assume that all of
our present interpretations of the universe are subject to revision or
replacement" (Kelly, 1955/1991). Kelly was
aware that philosophical speculation is inescapable for any scientific
investigation. In fact,
he chose to state the underlying assumptions of his theory at the very
beginning. He did that by coining two expressions that are shaped like
the contrasting poles of a discrimination, a construct: accumulative
fragmentalism versus constructive alternativism.
Kelly’s philosophical point of view of constructive alternativism
breaks with the past attempts to found a positivist psychology.
it invites one to substitute an analytic search for truth with a
exploration of alternative constructions, as well as to replace a
of control and manipulation with a psychology of understanding and
participation. In regard to the above and other metatheoretical
aspects, personal construct psychology
and its philosophy is a forerunner and, at the same time, plays a
leading role within the
more recent movements labelled as post-modernist,
in particular psychological constructivism
and social constructionism.
Following on from George Kelly’s thinking, psychotherapy, in the
post-modernist approach, is seen as a reconstruing process, as a search
for a new narrative by the client and the
the assumption according to which "there is nothing in the world which
is not subject to some form of reconstruction" resides "the hope that
alternativism holds out to every man [… and] the hope that a
holds out to his client" (Kelly, 1955/1991, p. 937/Vol. 2, p. 265).
G. & Nuzzo, M. L. (1996). Personal construct theory within
psychological constructivism: Precursor or avant-garde? In B. M.
Walker, J. Costigan, L. L. Viney & B. Warren (Eds), Personal
construct theory: A psychology for the future (pp. 25-54). Sydney:
The Australian Psychological Society. (excerpt at the URL http://www.cesipc.it/pages/pubblicazioni.html)
G. & Nuzzo, M. L. (2003). Kelly’s philosophy of constructive
alternativism. In F. Fransella (Ed.), International handbook of
psychology (pp. 41-49). Chichester: Wiley.
Gabriele Chiari & M. Laura Nuzzo