|A propositional construct is one which
carries no implications regarding the other
realm memberships of its elements. This is uncontaminated construing.
Kelly gives the following examples: philosophical attitudes; any roundish mass can be considered, among
things, a ball; although this
is a ball, there is no reason therefore
believe that it could not be lopsided, valuable, or have a French
(Kelly, 1955, p. 156-7; 1991, Vol 1, p. 109). The opposite pole of the
construct is constellatory construing.
This construct of propositional
versus constellatory construing, along with
the idea of preemptive construing are
Kelly's descriptions of the
constructs may exercise over other constructs (or elements as Kelly
In everyday living, it would not be very
practical to construe propositionally all the time since you would have
difficulty in coming to any conclusions. For instance, in watching a
match, you would be so busy trying to decide whether the oval object
being thrown around was a ball or not that you would miss the point of
game. So, it is certainly useful to construe preemptively at such times
'that is an oval ball and nothing but an oval ball' for the duration of
However, in the context of
clinical work, Kelly suggests that all his
constructs are intended to be used propositionally.
"If a person is
may also be construing loosely or tightly, or comprehensively, or he
may be guilty,
or he may be hostile" (Kelly,
1955, p. 531; 1991, Vol 1, 390). It also
that along with one's analysis of, say, a self
accept the possibility that some other way of analysing the script may
Propositional construing should not be
as the same as loose construing.
Propositional construing is about how
constructs related to one another. But loose construing is about the
outcome changing whenever a personal construct is used - today I think
are good for me whereas yesterday I thought they were best given to
only connection between propositional construing and loose construing
propositional constructs may be used loosely but they may equally be
- Kelly, G.A.
(1955). The Psychology of
Personal Constructs. New York: Norton.