Blind Men Woes

From Gary Cziko (920918.1925)

Rick Marken (920918.1330) attempting to cop out says:

Well, I give up. Psychological Science is not going to publish
the "Blind men" paper as a commentary and I'm not going to try to
get it (or any other paper) published in any scholarly journal any
more. I will only publish stuff in the Journal of Living Systems if
it ever exists. The brief comments of the person who reviewed the
"Blind men" paper made it clear to me that attempts to get psychologists
interested in PCT are just futile -- they just don't see anything wrong
with the cuurent state of psychological "science" (as Dag is always
pointing out to me). . . .

I can understand your frustration, particularly since you think this is
such a good paper (as I do). But I can also understand why reviewers won't
like it.

Have you stopped to think that any reviewer who is not familiar with PCT is
being called (at least partly) "blind" in your paper? Do you expect him or
her to respond positively to that?

You may well have to move outside the mainstream psychological world to get
this published, but I would like to encourage you not to give up. Not yet

I know that there are journals out there that specialize in non-mainstream
and more radical approaches to psychology. Isn't there something called
_New Ideas in Psychology_ or something like that. And didn't someone
mention on CSGnet not too long ago that there was a new journal that might
be more friendly to PCT ideas? Let's get some suggestions from CSGnetters
where Rick's article could go.

If this were my article, I wouldn't give up yet. If anything, I would make
the article longer and talk about how progress in science is marked by new
theories explaining what the old theories could not and showing how what
are initially considered to be separate phenomena to be special cases of a
more general phenomena. You could then make the case that this has NOT yet
happened in psychology, where essentially new fads are invented which may
become popular for a while and then disappear (or perhaps just fade a bit
into the background; behaviorism is certainly still alive with its own
journal). You could explain why this is so, how cognitive psychology and
behaviorism share the same basic architecture of input causing output.
Maybe you should even scrap the blind men metaphor to make the article
appear more "serious." You could even get into a little bit of philosophy
of science and stuff like that.

If you don't feel up to this yourself, I propose that you draw on the
expertise represented on CSGnet. I'd certainly be willing to help where I
could. I think that this article could become a classic if you get it
published, although perhaps not in your lifetime (think how proud your
grandchildren will be!).

What do other CSGnetters think? Should Rick give up? (Boo!) How about
some ideas on parallels in other fields of science. The only one that I
can think off the top of my head is Galileo's terrestrial mechanics and
Kepler's planetary physics being combined into Newton's more general theory
(or at least I've been told--I'm no physicist). Could this be said for
Einstein as well? What about from the fields of biology, geology, etc.?

I know that Lakatos talks about the progress of scientific research
programs in terms that could be incorporated in the argument, and there is
no shortage of people writing about how psychology is not shown itself to a
"real" cumulative science like the physical and biological sciences. If
you could get input on this kind of stuff from people like Hershberger,
Taylor, Powers, Delprato, Williams, Tucker (just to name a few on CSGnet)
it could be quite put into quite a powerful package with you original
insight as its core.


P.S. Rick, could you share the review(s) with us? Remember you once said
that you submit your articles to mainstream journals so that you can
chuckle about how such smart people can be so benighted. I like to
chuckle, too.


Gary A. Cziko Telephone: (217) 333-8527
Educational Psychology FAX: (217) 333-5847
University of Illinois E-mail:
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