Re: readng Rommetviet

From: Andy Blunden (
Date: Wed Aug 11 2004 - 20:22:40 PDT

Mike, I think the "thumbnail sketches" of the relevant topics you suggested
would be most welcome, not only as an aide-discourse, but in-themselves. I
look forward with particular interest to your history of "subject".


At 08:00 PM 11/08/2004 -0700, you wrote:

>I have been pondering over how best to explore jointly Rommetveit's idea of a
>psychology of the "second person" and figure its both a difficult and
>My first concern is that a number of people on the list will not share
>enough common reference to reach consensus on whether they agree or disagree
>with RR because they will not be familiar to a number of the people and ideas
>he is referring to. If this assumption is wrong, I am sure someone(s) will
>straighten me out.
>I take an overall concern of the article to be that many attempts to place
>meaning at the center of human psychological life fall short in various ways
>and that RR would like to show where the shortfalls are and point to ways
>beyond them. Early on he locates his concern with the early history of
>psychology which inherits "most of initial wondering and problems from
>philosophy and the humanities buts its quest for empirical documentation
>and scientific stringency from the biological and natural sciences."
>I take this to be a formulation of the "two psychologies" problem which
>LSV and his colleagues sought to overcome, although I learned to think of
>it in polemics between Wundt and Dilthey, not Ebbinghaus and Dilthey. The
>latter pair are actually closer to my own graduate training but in each
>case, the issue of meaning enters into the disagreement in an analogous
>way. What makes them different, I think, is how one thinks about the term
>"subject" which undergoes a change of meaning between 1880 and 1920 that
>carries with it all the confusions we experience over the term "object"
>in discussions here.
>So, question #1 is whether people are familiar with the
>disagreement, its foundation, and its importance. If not, we might stop to
>make that clear.
>Secondly, do readers know the work of Michotte and Heider and how they are
>used in contemporary psychology and how they fit into the arguments here?
>Again, I was not sure. Both have become very important (again) in modern
>developmental psychology where Michotte is used as providing evidence for
>a "physical causality module" through his demonstrations of the illusion
>of physical causality in very young infants and Heider's work on "intentional
>motion" is used in the same venue and for similar reasons.
>I can provide thumbnail sketches of all these issues if anyone would be
>helped by them. I actually had some questions about RR's interpretation of
>them, but unless we share some notion of the topic, anything I might have
>to say would be pretty vacuous.
>It might interest people to know that there were a LOT of interconnections
>between the Europeans and Americans RR discusses. Early American psychologists
>routinely got their PhD's in Europe so that, for example, Mead was a student
>of Dilthey's. Heider was a German forced to make himself understood to
>Americans-- as best he could. And so on.
>Anyway, seems like we need some co-authoring here.

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