Of course the manuscript for my dissertation Semiosis & Sign Exchange was evaluated. One reviewer kindly made his extensive written remarks, questions etc. available to me. Here, I’ve gathered some of my even more extensive attempts at clarification as I prepared for our meeting.
+ Already in my opening sentences I've tried to apply my
assumptions. It is the idea of interest-driven behavior: stakeholder. The
ambiguity dissolves when it is recognized that every stakeholder measures
information systems' success by the extent to which they help serve his
A modeling language with increased variety (see the research objective) may contribute to success of stakeholders and their information systems.
Also see § 1.4:
Critical for success is that each and every stakeholder finds, and continues to find, her or his relevant 'stakes,' or interests, adequately supported.
+ The terminology of nonconceptual modeling is an artifact. I created it for
opposing the still predominant orientation at improving information systems:
construction rather than conceptual modeling.
From a construction bias, the anglo-saxon tradition of development distinguishes between analysis and design. I propose to reverse this terminology. Design is therefore a matter of conceptual modeling (and no longer a mere translation of the results of analysis to something like a construction blueprint). In addition, design is more invention than what went before under the label of analysis. This emphasis confers with subjective situationism as an axiomatic system. It also fits ars inveniendi as a legitimate aspect of science.
+ The further my research took me into designing an axiomatic system, the
more I saw opportunities from abstracting from the concept of business. See §
7.1, at the end, for a very generic concept of business.
And at the end of § 1.1, I write:
A second consequence of concentrating on conceptual grounds is that this treatise goes well beyond such fundamental concepts for business information modeling, only. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. What else can be expected when the orientation at a particular – that is, digital, late twentieth century – technological perspective is removed on purpose? It is only logical that a (more) general perspective on information, knowledge and communication emerges. Though my primary interest remains with improving the quality of information systems, I entertain the idea that information science can also make productive contributions to other disciplines.
Later on in the Introduction, I have more to say about such a general orientation, for example at the end of § 1.4: Abstraction from a (strictly) technological orientation is taken as inspiration to cover grounds of semiosis and sign exchange in general.
+ In my problem sketch, I refer to Bowker and Star (1999) who state that
[w]e lack a good relational language here. There is a permanent tension between the formal and the empirical, the local and the situated, and attempts to represent information across localities. It is this tension itself which is underexplored and undertheorized. It is not just a set of interesting metaphysical observations. It can also become a pragmatic unit of analysis. How can something be simultaneously concrete and abstract? The same and yet different? People are not (yet, we hope) used to thinking in this fashion in science and technology. As information systems grow in scale and scope, however, the need for such complex analyses grows as well.
Yes, I believe that subjective situationism provides a language with the characteristics that Bowker and Star are hinting at.
+ What I am putting forward is that every individual person is the product
of influences. A term for a collective of persons mutually influencing each
other is: group. Including the concept of group should secure that my use of
the adjective of subjective — and I quote from my manuscript — should also not
be taken as a denial, at all, that an individual is shaped by the exchanges
with other individuals (nurture) he has been engaged in.
I am merely tuning a concept for my own purposes of designing subjective situationism. In fact, the reviewer’s association with Habermas seems an apt illustration of subjective situationism.
+ No, there is no essential distinction between a design for an ontology and
a design from an ontology. I try to put an emphasis on the idea that an
ontology is a design, too. And I try to play upon a connotation between design
At the start of § 1.5 I write:
I realize that the scientific status of design is at present widely considered problematic.
+ My references to Bloor and, in a note, to several other writers are meant
to clarify from what mind-set the reader may most profitably read my treatise.
I don't believe my design can be appreciated by someone maintaining a
traditionally analytical worldview and empirical concept of science.
In the very note I add:
I do not enter into a discussion of Bloor’s strong program. I completely agree with the antifundamentalist attitude toward scientific knowledge that he convincingly expresses.
However, the reviewer is right to raise his question for I continue:
My conceptual designs essentially confirm his strong program and even contribute to a ‘stronger’ foundation for it.
I have provided a succinct answer by quoting from Bloor that it amounts to applying to a study of scientific knowledge (p 4)
the same values which are taken for granted in other disciplines.
Explanations of knowledge should therefore involve “causality, impartiality,
symmetry and reflexivity.” Though, indeed, I didn't pursue a treatment of
Bloor's strong program, I believe my design adequately fulfills such criteria.
And subjective situationism offers some additional explanatory variables.
Now that the reviewer has raised this issue, I'll include here an additional quotation from Bloor (1976, edition 1991, p. 7):
[T]he sociology of scientific knowledge should adhere to
the following four tenets. In this way it will embody the same values which are
taken for granted in other scientific disciplines. These are:
1. It would be causal, that is, concerned with the conditions which bring about belief or states of knowledge. Naturally there will be other types of causes apart from the social ones which will cooperate in bringing about belief.
2. It would be impartial with respect to truth and falsity, rationality or irrationality, success or failure. Both sides of these dichotomies will require explanation.
3. It would be symmetrical in its style of explanation. The same types of cause would explain, say, true and false beliefs.
4. It would be reflexive. In principle its patterns of explanation would have to be applicable to sociology itself. Like the requirement of symmetry this is a response to the need to seek for general explanations. It is an obvious requirement of principle because otherwise sociology would be a standing refutation of its own theories.
These four tenets, of causality, impartiality, symmetry and reflexivity, define what will be called the strong programme in the sociology of knowledge.
Against this background, subjective situationism might very well be called a
social psychology of knowledge. I am grateful to the reviewer for his question
for he has drawn my attention to an even greater confirmation by subjective
situationism of the strong program than I had realized before.
In the light of another point raised by the reviewer, I'd especially like to refer to Bloor's concept of reflexivity, i.e., a theory applicable to the theoretical framework it belongs to.
+ On the idea of rich vs. poor theory I have written:
In any case, it is logically impossible to express a richer theory in terms of a poorer one. The necessary concepts and their relationships simply fail. It is equally fruitless to try and describe what n-dimensional space entails by applying less than n dimensions, most likely even different dimensions at that. For a both entertaining and pertinent allegory I refer to Flatland (around 1885) by E.A. Abbott.
See also note 2 in Chapter 11.
With a greater variety of concepts, explanations are more precise. That is, with relevant concept. But, then, what is the measure of relevant? Peirce's pragmatics holds that the measure lies in the value of a person's basis for conduct. Then again, what determines the value? According to Schopenhauer, it must be measured against the individual as a unique objectification of the will. And there ends the rationality of explanation.
+ The reviewer raises this point of “a change of paradigm in terms of
subjective situationism” in the context of the Introduction. My idea of an
introduction is to prepare the reader for what follows as the main text.
Indeed, the main text presents (also read: develops) the design for a
subjective situationism. What is "involved" in changing to such an
axiomatic system, i.e., its application, has mostly been left outside the scope
of the treatise. This limit is clearly indicated, for example in § 1.7 where I
write: Rather, I fully concentrate on the design for an ontology.
See also, for example, Chapter 8:
The scope of this treatise is the design of this ontology, that is, an exercise in speculative thought. I therefore also don’t pretend to offer any empirical, but only anecdotal, support for compliance seeking as the essence of signs. I don’t believe it can be positively proven, anyway. It necessarily remains a speculation, a fiction. I design it as a ground for (further) explanation. And I add that other theories of meaning are likewise unempirically grounded. So fundamentally, I exchange one or more traditional systems of meaning-determining axioms for a more productive one.
+ I am not aware of an error in logical argument. Actually, from the assumptions of subjective situationism (especially the ones drawn from Schopenhauer) I even state a tautology. But then I am only elaborating. For 'being of an opinion' is also behavior.
+ Starting from an individual sign user reflects a design choice on my part.
I suspected that a sociological axiomatic system would fall short of requisite
variety (a hypothesis later also confirmed by my analysis of works of Eco, Mead
and Habermas). As a mathematician, the obvious step to take is to posit units
of higher granularity. Compared to a group, the concept of an individual person
offers more combinatorial opportunities.
Writing an introduction, I allow myself to state: That choice ends up even more relevant than I thought. With this I announce that the design choice has indeed proven productive.
+ Perhaps the reviewer has read "reflexive" as reflective, or
something. I regret the confusion. For Bloor's concept of reflexivity, also see
my comments above.
§ 3.5 opens with:
A measure of both elegance and instrumentality is reflexivity. It is to my engineering mind, anyway. So, to what extent does situationism apply to itself?
+ I would like to believe otherwise, but (see also above) ars inveniendi is still left out too much from the scientific equation. So, once again, I plead for more balance.
+ Chapter 2 is titled: Developing the ground of Peirce. As may be read
there, it is by the way not from Peirce that I have quoted the concept of
chain. It is from Voloshinov who is quoted there to pinpoint a parallel idea.
It is certainly an intriguing thought to try to match the concept of semiosis with that of "a network with no centre." I would say that the concept of the dynamical ennead (see Chapter 4) comes a long way to offering a (meta)model of such a network. However, as indicated, Chapter 2 is devoted to explaining the importance of Peirce's semiotic triad for my ontological design.
See § 13.3 for some remarks on the networked nature of the "cognitive mass:" Any metapattern-based information model may be seen as a networked collection of signatures. Every signature is the starting point for enneadic dynamics based upon the configuration of nodes. Dependent on the process instance of sign use it figures in, a particular node can serve as signature, or as — part of a — context, or as — part of an — intext.
+ It is first of all Peirce who I am quoting, this time for his view on how a particular process of semiosis might settle. Then, at the end of § 2.4, I try to modernize his view, that is all. It is with this aim that I write: It seems obvious to suggest, in modern cybernetic terms, that scientific intelligence, i.e., the sign user, includes a feedback mechanism.
+ I am not aware of making "a hard-and-fast distinction between a sign-engineer and a sign-observer " as it would contradict subjective situationism. The justification therefore lies within what I view as a situation, i.e., one — kind of — situation where the user might productively be hypothesized as acting as sign engineer, and another — kind of — situation where the user might productively be hypothesized as acting as sign observer. That distinction corresponds quite well with the traditional roles of sender and receiver. But my terminology aims to suggest a more active participation of the part of the sign user. A lot of efforts is exerted before actually sending, as there follows much after actually receiving.
+ I am not aware that reading my figures requires more background than may be assumed from workers in information systems theory, as they should be used to "diagrams."
+ For my solution on how to include "multiple meanings" in a
visual model, I refer to Chapter 4 on the metapattern.
Before figure 2.4.3 is presented, I am trying to explain the difference between the so-called classical semantic triad and Peirce's semiotic triad. There is nothing original about my figures as I am only copying. From a copy of the classical semantic triad (figure 2..4.1), I then try to position the problem of homonymy. With this purpose, figure 2.4.3 repeats figure 2.4.1 on the left side. On the right side of figure 2.4.3, in an additional triangle, I locate the problem of homonymy by emphasizing the line connecting two of its three angles.
+ I introduce the terminology of situation where I have dissected it as one
out of several meanings for Peirce's ground. There, where I write
"particular situation" is preceded by "whatever." This
addition is intended to suggest that, at least momentarily, I am not ready for
any kind of atomic definition of the concept of situation.
Then, in Chapters 3 and 4, the development follows of the recursive concept of situation, i.e., in mathematical terms as a function of hierarchically related objects. See especially § 3.6.
In § 13.3 I summarize once again: What counts as situation, object, and behavior, is all relative.
+ I find that the quotations from Lindsay and Norman, especially the first
one presented, fit very well with my axiomatic system. Indeed, abstraction is a
way to "organize selectively the data." However, Lindsay and Norman
would probably call that a special case of their more general principle.
Actually, Peirce — and following him I also refrain from naming particulars — says nothing "about the specific content of each at any point in time."
+ I have chosen terms for concepts which I aim to connect through an
unambiguous structure. As a mathematician, in § 2.7 I try reach a logical fit
for such a structure. This attempt brings me from pentad to hexad.
The value of Peirce's original triad remains essentially intact, though. But his angles, say, develop, into corresponding dimensions. In the hexad, each of the three dimensions comprises two angles.
First of all, the members of each pair of angles along a dimension are similarly related. What I call an object belongs in what I call a situation. A sign in a context. And a foreground interpretant in a background interpretant.
Secondly, as the single angles are related to each other in Peirce's triad, now in the hexad the ordered pairs along the three dimensions are related to each other. Actually, this is of course already elaborated at the end of Chapter 2 and subsequently even summarized in prelude 3.
Please note that those are all steps in the design of a model. Chapter 2 only presents the early steps. More follow in the other chapters. I repeat that application of the model (read: subjective situationism) lies outside the scope of the treatise. The scope is documented in the Introduction.
All this leaves the reviewer’s question unanswered. For he addresses an issue outside the treatise's scope. Inside its scope I can explain why I have made certain choices for my axiomatic system. It is not an empirical explanation confirming the value of subjective situationism. By the treatise's nature, it cannot be.
+ I have written: Why not see role as relative?
The emphasis, throughout the treatise, actually, is on 'see.' From one perspective, then, x is seen as a situation, from another as an object. This has led me to conceptualizing situation as a recursive function of object and relationship, offering the power of compact expression.
The correspondence between dimensions indicates that, like situation, context and background interpretant are also considered recursive functions.
+ Yes, behavior as a collection of properties is a useful abstraction.
+ I introduce the metapattern as follows:
I designed a formalized yet flexible approach for — the activity of — conceptual modeling of information systems. I call this approach: metapattern (Wisse, 2001).
A few sentences on I write:
[T]he metapattern can easily be misunderstood as just a(nother) method or technique.
So, it is not "just a(nother) method or technique" but a method or
technique, nonetheless. However, it is not "just a(nother)": I
designed the metapattern as a challenge to modeling paradigms without requisite
The modeler visualizes in the sense that (s)he produces a model with mainly visual — as opposed to literal or alphabetical — characteristics.
+ I agree with the reviewer when he reads from the quotation taken from Peirce that the experimentalist is shaped by experience. All I have done is aggregate experience into the concept of attitude, in a subordinate clause at that.
+ I don't claim mutual exclusion of “the categories of experimentalist and engineer”. As I write:
I just contrast the engineer with the experimentalist. And I proceed by remarking that I am sketching caricatures of the experimentalist and the engineer. Such a contrast subsequently helps me to throw additional light on Peirce's pragmatism.
+ This is how I understand the reviewer’s suggestion. There exists a person as an overall object with sign engineer and sign observer as partial identities in corresponding situations. When my interpretation is adequate, I agree that it provides an especially apt illustration.
+ What the reviewer refers to as flow comes from a quotation I took from
Barwise. It is a conceptual scheme that I also don't find convincing. However,
I am presenting it as part of an inventory of more or less related efforts,
i.e., axiomatic systems with situation as a central concept.
Regarding differences between situations, I don't believe there is a question of explaining them. For it is already assumed that one situation — whatever may be taken for it — differs from all others. In other words, every situation is unique by definition.
+ On choice of situations, I'll supply the whole passage:
I repeat a particular emphasis of subjective situationism.
As its point of departure it presents the ‘I’ as an active and subjective
interpreter of reality. This includes the choice of situations as crucial
activity. The axiomatic nature of the subject, too, allows for dynamics of what
the ‘I’ understands as – existing as – situations.
So, a situation doesn't objectively exist. It assumed from the assumption of a background interpretant, i.e., resulting from semiosis. Background interpretants, and in Peircean terms I may call them beliefs about situations, are also constructs of an individual person's intelligence. Especially from a Schopenhauerean perspective, the terminology of "choice" might be somewhat 'unhappy.' Isn't the intellect's freedom of choice restrained? But I haven't yet thought up a better term. Is this indicative of, indeed, a lack of choice?
+ I am referring to abstraction as the step from the instance level tot the type level.
+ Such decisions on generalization are, at least in the fictional case study
as I call it, the modeler's. How decisions are made in a real-life situation is
of course another matter.
The point I am making with the example is that it should bring out behavioral differences. Without his explanation I cannot understand what point the reviewer is expecting. I would expect his different expectation — yes, an example of differential behavior, too — underlies his judgment that the example is "slightly tortuous." My view is that is simply supports what I aim to explain.
+ I admit to having wrestled with the need to retain Chapter 5. Originally, I expected a constructive contribution from Eco's semiotic theory. Now I increasingly find the chapter valuable for highlighting the risk of reduction. It is especially the irreducibility of Peirce's semiotic triad that Eco is violating, leading to all sorts of premature contradictions. As such, I am afraid Eco's example is representative of a large group of modern semioticians. In turn, such ideas are applied as ground for theorizing on information systems. I feel that my strong criticism helps to clear that ground.
+ What I have written is:
Schopenhauer presents a theory of knowledge faculties.
I am sure that he was the first to recognize that his theory was a
Vorstellung, or interpretation, too. And that his own — faculty of — reason,
being one of his intellect's knowledge faculties, was instrumental to his
overall bodily existence as a unique objectification of the will.
Another question is: How did Schopenhauer come to his theory? I don't venture any guesses. I have taken his writings on the mind's structure as a result, right before the start of § 6.1 only arguing as follows:
Schopenhauer's conceptual scheme needs detailed exposition.
+ First of all, in § 6.1 I continue to reason about value from Schopenhauer's concept of virtue. I take virtue and value as synonyms. Next, I place the concept of value in the realm of the will, that is, outside — please note, the Schopenhauerean concept of — reason.
+ Actually, also there I explicitly mention the concept of reflexivity.
I used the image of a bicycle in the chapter on Eco. And also in note 7 in Chapter 6, which is probably what the reviewer is referring to. Anyway, I don't see a basic problem with both riding a bicycle and pumping up a tire. I have no examples ready, but I am sure there exist constructions for feeding a substance into a rotating object. My own design approach would be looking at the bearings; once the air, or whatever substance, gets into the wheel's axis, it is straightforward to fill the tire with it.
In fact, the reviewer has provided an apt metaphor precisely for what Eco etc. are doing, i.e., pumping while driving. Their bicycles are not optimally designed and constructed for the purpose of comfortable travel.
+ Schopenhauer emphasizes, not so much specific items of knowledge, but knowledge faculties. Hoping to avoid confusion such as I believe the reviewer is reporting, I have italicized the word faculties.
+ As in Chapter 2 with Peirce and his concept of semiosis, in Chapter 6 I am occupied with presenting the conceptual scheme of Schopenhauer.
+ Reason is presented as a faculty, hence the reification. Of course, the faculty is involved with reasoning as a process, etcetera.
+ It does in Schopenhauer's scheme, and that is what I am presenting.
+ I don't understand what the reviewer is aiming at. From a dictionary I
learned that to impute is used in the sense of to ascribe. Then, somebody is
imputing something to somebody else. So, is the reviewer inquiring whether one
person can ascribe a particular motive to another person? Or does he mean a
transfer, a transplant? Or an imprint?
Anyway, I believe Schopenhauer's view is that a motive is always subjectively generated, whatever influences that individual person underwent. A motive is therefore never directly transferred.
+ I wouldn't call Schopenhauer's assumption an argument, as the reviewer
does. But I certainly agree with him that it is an assumption. I have called it
an insight to emphasize my belief that it is indeed very productive.
Actually, the reviewer’s interpretation seems to point at his opinion that our axiomatic systems differ. From a transcendental idealist perspective, an in-sight results from seeing within.
The distinction between argument and assumption is also important regarding the reviewer's overall evaluation of my manuscript.
Anyway, I find Schopenhauer's particular assumption on the relationship between the will and the intellect very convincing (also read: productive, etc.), as more scientists now seem to (re)discover (however, without referring to Schopenhauer). See also, for example, notes 17, 18 (on teleology), 20 (on artificial intelligence) and 21 in Chapter 6. In my own case, his assumption greatly helps to avoid premature contradictions.
+ With my critical chapters I demonstrate that there seems no escaping from the assumption the reviewer doesn't find "particularly convincing." At least, all those authors (Eco, Austin, Searle, Mead and Habermas) introduce the assumption in one way or another. What I show is that they do so somewhere along the line of their argument. It serves the purpose of plugging a hole. My objection, as I have also stated in my treatise, is that they don't return to their original axioms for the necessary revision. Eco mentions all sorts of ad-hoc theories, Austin raises doubts about his enterprise, Searle limits his theory to specific talk, Mead draws a distinction between I and me, and Habermas places his normative classification of communication action types on the ground of personal intuition. So, what their theories should not be used for is for grounding objective rationality.
+ From the perspective of subjective situationism, every theoretical construct is a product of the theorist's distinctions. There is no escaping it.
+ Once again, figure 6.1.6 is put forward as part of my presentation of Schopenhauer's conceptual scheme. Therefore, I don't want to extend it beyond his scheme.
+ What is considered a delusion depends on the axiomatic system. From the
perspective of naive realism, for example, an immediate correspondence exists
between real objects and items of knowledge. Then, any deviation from this
correspondence would be a delusion. Peirce's pragmatism, of the other hand,
locates the basis for conduct in the intellect. Such a basis results from
semiosis. It could be said that a particular process of semiosis starts from a
certain experience of delusion which diminishes, i.e., the experience, through
subsequent cycles until a sufficient basis of conduct is arrived at. Adding
Schopenhauer's conceptual scheme to the equation only increases the extent to
which conduct is invariably based on delusions.
A recent popular introduction to the pervasive nature of the, say, delusional basis of behavior presents Robert Pollack in The Missing Moment: How the unconscious shapes modern science (Houghton Mifflin, 1999).
+ I am treating what I call: the basic tenet of transcendental idealism. Indeed, its extension into subjective situationism provides answers to questions such as the reviewer raises.
+ Subjective knowledge is the cognitive mass — conceptualized — as a repository of interpretants.
+ In fact, Schopenhauer doesn't write that symbols are the most complicated abstractions. Rather, symbols represent the most complicated abstractions. The abstractions themselves, as I quote Schopenhauer, reside in the — faculty of — reason. There, concepts at different levels of abstraction reside.
+ It is Schopenhauer whom I report as expressing a conceptual scheme. The
knowledge of the whole body as being is only possible through its
manifestations. Yes, I agree with the reviewer that from concepts of such
manifestations a concept of the whole might be induced. In fact, this is what
figures 6.3.1 models.
However, I believe Schopenhauer makes a different point. A concept of the body's wholeness is never arrived at through a perceptive interpretant. It follows that the concept of the whole arrived at through limited manifestations is of a highly abstract nature.
On the conceptually paradoxical nature of axioms I remark, referring to Schopenhauer, at the start of Chapter 6: With a single stroke, Schopenhauer integrates everything that is impossible to treat conceptually. His productive paradox is to nonetheless admit this, say, a-conceptual collection to the realm of concepts. There, it must of course be yet another concept. Schopenhauer recognizes that the opportunities for rationalization are optimized by minimizing the number of such a-conceptual concepts.
+ I use the word credible in the sense that I believe the reviewer is using the word convincing. As I am still writing about Schopenhauer's axiomatic system, it is my hypothesis that his criteria referred to explanatory power. This may be deduced from the breadth of applications he sketches. As I write later in § 6.3:
This doesn’t mean that the concept of the will can ever explain anything empirically. It cannot, Schopenhauer emphasizes. But it serves to unify explanations by their proper, often complementary means. I think that such is the ultimate philosophical program of Schopenhauer. His conceptual scheme allows innovative ways to hypothesize “pragmatic unit[s] of analysis” (Bowker and Star, 1999).
+ The mention of rational that the reviewer is referring to follows my question:
Does the assumption of the will help to gain a different knowledge about an object?
My answer reads:
It certainly does when the perspective on human behavior has so far been purely rational, or even mechanistic. What it does for Schopenhauer is to provide him with a single concept to integrate all explanations.
So, at that particular place my use of "purely rational, even
mechanistic," as the reviewer puts it, serves the purpose of supporting
the assumption of the will. I am not at all involved in further developing a
concept of rationality. There, a reference to concepts of Habermas might even
As may also be read from my comments above, and of course emphasized in my treatise, the assumption of the Schopenhauerean concept of the will leads to higher-level rationality. I write at the start of Chapter 6:
It is an extraordinary design, the Schopenhauerean will. To appreciate its nature, for example compare it with the number zero. That, too, is a far-reaching design resulting from a productive paradox.
+ How I understand what Bowker and Star mean by a pragmatic unit of analysis
is something susceptible to an empirical approach to analysis.
What I take pragmatism to be corresponds to — what I believe is — Peirce's concept of pragmatism. This is dealt with in Chapters 2 and 3.
I agree, and I have also stated such in my treatise, there is a host of writers providing relevant texts. It has of course been necessary to set a limit to my dissertation research. I would say that especially a treatment of several texts of Derrida comprises a dissertation in its own right. As the reviewer has also mentioned them, I don't believe an extensive treatment of Dewey and Rorty would have added anything substantial to what Schopenhauer and Peirce in combination have contributed to my design. I find these two writers I concentrated on especially valuable as they should be recognized as pioneering thinkers.
+ The reviewer inquired “what is the limit to the rationality underlying signs that Schopenhauer sets? “ The will.
+ Does the reviewer perhaps refer to the sociological concept of class?
There is even the possibility that a (mathematical) class has zero instances. Anyway, I apply a method (anything goes) to arrive at a result. With a productive result, in this case the indication of a correspondence between assumptions from Schopenhauer and Voloshinov, what is wrong with — the use of — the method?
+ In the treatise, I define the ideal sign from the perspective of the sign
engineer as follows: He makes behavior of objects completely explicit. Further
on, I state what I consider the ideal sign from the perspective of the sign
Whether a sign is a tool depends on what is considered a tool. Is it a means to get something accomplished? Yes, then a sign is a tool.
+ The research objective is to contribute to improved information systems through providing a higher-variety language for conceptual modeling. In practice, those are information systems for business. However, I gladly agree with the reviewer that the axiomatic system of subjective situationism is more widely applicable. In fact, my enumeration of constraints in § 7.1 ends as follows:
With these constraints stated, I right away follow with a disclaimer. They are not really fundamental. I therefore repeat what I have written at the start of this paragraph. These constraints should especially help to provide assistance imagining where and how to put this theory to practice. But again, I pretend my suggestions only as an example. I believe the anatomy of meaning that Part ii adds to subjective situationism is just as generally applicable as what Part i suggests about the individual sign user.
I'd like to counter the reviewer’s remark in terms of what Chapter 6 suggests, i.e., that every sign has a preintellectual basis. Of course, this cannot be empirically proven. But neither can the idea that he has made an entirely reasonable remark, and that I have supplied an entirely reasonable reaction. What remains is agreement or disagreement on assumptions.
+ As indicated in the Introduction, my treatise emphasizes invention rather
than justification. It is a research project in its own right to design an
Yes, of course, further empirical research may find the axiomatic system lacking or even mistaken. However, such research of relevant "pragmatic units" is only possible after the axiomatic system has been sufficiently developed. Again, such development/design has been the task set for the dissertation (see also the programmatic statement by Bowker and Star). And, no, I don't share the reviewer's suspicion that subjective situationism is easily undermined. But he is most welcome to try and prove it unproductive.
+ I personally like the flavor of irrational for what I aim at. (For example Bloor also uses this term.) It has a more, say, irrational ring to it than nonrational. The latter still sounds, to me anyway, so rational. The handicap of both terms is of course that they are created from the vantage point of the rational. Schopenhauer concept of the will avoids this connotation.
+ For an inventory of stakeholders I apply the bias of what the reviewer
calls the "assumption that the system is being developed from
scratch." I believe I am allowed to do so for I clearly indicate that:
Mainly for purposes of illustration I mention some types of (potential)
stakeholder regarding business information modeling. With such variety it is
evident that dynamics of interests soon become highly complex.
See note 1 in Chapter 1 for some remarks dealing with the normal situations where, in the reviewer's words, "something already exists" etc.
+ I agree there is no basis for the content of § 7.4. If that is meant as a criticism I take it as a compliment. For I am in the process of providing a basis, i.e., an axiomatic system for (other) content to rest upon.
+ Fight for survival, the concept of strategic action developed by Habermas.
Actually, what would the reviewer consider the basis for the content of
Darwin's theory of evolution, or Habermas's theory of communicative action?
Aren't those mainly axiomatic systems, too?
Yes, I apply Schopenhauer's concept of the will to posit that every exchange is interest-laden. It is therefore not my argument or conclusion, but an assumption. Now, the reviewer may not appreciate such an assumption. What I found unproductive is assuming that there are altruistic exchanges; it doesn't afford rational explanation. And it should of course be remembered that Schopenhauer introduced empathy. As I explain in § 7.4: the concept of egoism must be understood here in a strictly Schopenhauerean sense. With will over mind, it is impossible for a person not to act egoistically. But this egoism does not preclude, at all, that a particular person does not respect, take into account, etcetera, other persons, or, for that matter, other parts of the world. On the contrary, as Schopenhauer makes clear. It is precisely with his intellect, and Schopenhauer points to the faculty of perception rather than of reason, that man can escape from the otherwise immediacy of the will. With his intellect, a person adds the dimensions of time and/or space to his actions. He becomes capable of motivated empathy.
Throughout my treatise I have emphasized the social setting of individual behavior.
+ But, then, is the opposite adequately justified? I am not aware of it. So, what is at stake is an opposition of assumptions.
+ I believe that what the reviewer calls "theories of structuration and generally social mores, traditions etc" all fits what I refer to as rules. And:
The rules [...] always work from the inside of the person. Yes, we can prescribe for example traditional behavior. Such a sign can travel time and space, helping to keep the tradition alive. But the pertinent behavior has to be learned, again and again by each and every individual. Then, the individual denominator also adequately explains when traditions change etc.
+ I don't need to elaborate a theory of — the structure of — knowledge to make my case that knowledge is a critical variable for engineering and observing a sign. So, in § 7.5 I concentrate on developing a sign structure, rather than a knowledge structure. My method is to assume different extents of knowledge, however structured, in both the sign engineer and the sign observer.
+ Schopenhauer? In that passage I refer to Peirce. Yes, of course there are alternatives. Several writers are mentioned in my treatise. But, first of all, my dissertation research is not aimed at an inventory of sources on alternatives. I tried to limit myself for my main development to what I considered necessary and sufficient sources, and preferably original sources. I maintain that Schopenhauer and Peirce are strong candidates, with other writers offering no fundamental improvements from the perspective of my design of subjective situationism.
+ See Chapter 4 on how to interpret metapattern-based conceptual models. Or
my book Metapattern: context and time in information
In figure 7.5.5, the relationship originating from the modeling horizon is named reality. It leads to a node whose cardinality is precisely one. This indicates the assumption of a single reality.
+ As further reading of my treatise has no doubt shown, at that point the reviewer entertained the wrong guesses about the development of — I wouldn't call it an argument — my design. I regret he seems to find it consistently difficult to consider the assumptions I present.
+ The anatomy of meaning is general. At the end of § 7.1 I remark (see also my comments above):
I believe the anatomy of meaning that Part ii adds to
subjective situationism is just as generally applicable as what Part i suggests
about the individual sign user.
The orientation at business reflects an area of practical application.
I repeat that I wouldn't label my presentation an argument. I see it as a
design. Then, from the design arguments may be developed. Such developments lie
outside the scope of the treatise.
About the distinction between sign engineer and sign observer — if that is what the reviewer is pointing at —, it seems impossible to "fully work[...] through" some elements in isolation. I am trying to build up the — axiomatic — system as a system, as its elements irreducibly determine each other. So, in Chapter 8 it becomes clear that a sign engineer is also determined by the sign structure (s)he applies. The same relationship holds for a sign observer. The sign structure are therefore an essential part in the — dialectical? — process of "fully work[ing] through."
+ Throughout I stress that acting as sign engineer or sign observer depends
on the role during a particular exchange. In a process of sign exchanges, a
person may change roles. For example at the ends of Chapter 7 I write: So far,
the escalation has progressed on the assumption that just a single sign is exchanged
from John to Bill. However, in all but extremely simple matters several signs
need to be exchanged in both directions for any sensible meaning to occur. This
calls for analysis at the level of relationship between participants in
exchanges. The next chapter explains how an interpersonal relationship is in
many ways a memory for future meaning.
And in Prelude 8:
Any response by the original observer would of course immediately place him in the position of an engineer.
The sign observer interprets the sign engineer's sign.
+ About the infinite regress I remark in the treatise:
As I said, I abstain from including references to such recursion in the engineer-based structure. Whenever its need arises it can easily be added. As I write, for example in § 8.1: Another point I repeat is that the engineer-based structure of Figure 7.5.6 is by no means supposed to be exhaustive and definitive. It undoubtedly can be augmented, modified, etcetera, on the basis of additional speculation. Earlier in this paragraph I have already provided a suggestion myself. And of course the observer-based structure of signs is equally open to improvement. It might be an improvement in both to, for example, reverse the order in which situation and interest are modeled. But at their current stage of development those models already adequately serve the purpose of more extensive speculation on the anatomy of meaning. Much in the same way as Chapter 7, I explore limits and opportunities. I don’t pretend to offer a completed, comprehensive theory. What follows are primarily necessary preparations.
I believe throughout to have dealt adequately, and therefore also in § 8.1, with the role distinctions, during both semiosis and sign exchange.
+ There is in my treatise no guarantee of correspondence. I assume such
correspondence between the engineer's sign structure and one of the observer's
As with many other points, the reviewer is inquiring after empirical evidence or a logical argument. I can only repeat that such is not the nature of my — ontological — design (as explained in the Introduction, and referenced to throughout the treatise).
+ I believe such conflation, as the reviewer calls it, is an especially elegant attribute of subjective situationism, as it is very much to the point. And what I write is that Joyce reflects on such dynamics. I agree with the reviewer that the result of his writing is to be considered an established sign for external exchanges. I don't understand, though, why he calls the author the second person and the reader the third person.
+ Yes, of course it applies to “multiple observers.” But with every individual sign observer applying an observer-based sign structure (for which Chapter 8 develops a general model). See the start of § 8.2 for some remarks on audience.
+ At the metalevel of modeling, an extended relationship is assumed.
+ What I write is:
I have placed the word normal between inverted commas to alert the reader to
consider different criteria for normality, i.e., regarding the signs (s)he
usually takes for granted. For 'normal' signs I suggest: a mixture of
sincerity and falsehood.
With 'normal' I have not tried to create an opposition. However, I understand the reviewer’s curiosity. For one thing, subjective situationism would also have to account for 'abnormal' signs. Yes, I believe that it also holds for whatever anyone may consider 'abnormal' signs.
Examples of 'normal' signs would be the expressions the reviewer engineered as his specific points. And my responses, etcetera.
+ The quotations from Voloshinov are relevant for the theme of compliance. The reviewer may take the remark on Kuhn as a side-remark. However, albeit implicitly, I believe that Kuhn is also addressing the issue of compliance. For 'normal' scientists comply with a ruling paradigm. (Does this make me an 'abnormal' scientist? Is, by consequence, my treatise an 'abnormal' sign? Anyway, it certainly is a request for compliance.)
+ I am aware of refraining from an in-depth treatment of the aspects of power and trust. For example, I write:
Though likely intimately interwoven, here I simply consider the concepts of power and trust orthogonal.
And further on:
I repeat that analysis on the basis of such one-dimensional concepts of power and trust is simplifying matters much.
And in § 7.3:
Complex relationships hold between – feelings of – power and trust. I have no expertise in those matters. Here I establish enough credibility for my proposal that purely rational sign-based exchanges are rare, when they occur at all. So, I believe that especially the concepts of power and trust are necessary for an exposition on the anatomy of meaning.
I feel confident, though, that I didn't oversimplify for the purpose of the
design of subjective situationism. I therefore find it "sufficient."
When the reviewer is arguing that power and trust are core concepts for communication, I completely agree. I believe subjective situationism can suggest "pragmatic units" for additional research. Again, all that lies outside the scope of my treatise.
+ Actually, the reviewer’s suggestions — learning to play the violin, riding a bicycle — bring to the attention how broad Schopenhauer's concept of empathy is. For it rests on one individual's recognition of other objects as unique objectification of the will. So, the particular bicycle, the particular violin, etcetera, are all considered as individuals, too. The learner empathizes with them by assuming the other is like himself. I agree with the reviewer that this stretches the concept of empathy beyond current meaning.
+ The terms I use are: cooperation, relationship, role(s), participants, interdependencies, role distribution, incumbent. Therefore I don't see how I avoid "relationships etc." What I am confronting is that there is no requirement for shared meaning.
+ An inventory of structures, and their comparison, would indeed be a very worthwhile research effort. On purpose, I have refrained from any such attempt in my treatise. The focus has been the design of subjective situationism. I would classify it as a pragmatic structure. There are also grammatical, syntactical and semantical structures. Placing the figures from Chapters 7 and 8 besides examples of, say, transformational grammar immediately show interesting differences.
+ Does a paradox usually dissolve when an object's behaviors are dissected and each behavioral object allocated to a corresponding situation? Anyway, for assessing the value of an axiomatic system I felt I needed to develop a concept of premature contradiction. In my subsequent analysis of works of Austin, Searle, Mead and Habermas I apply it for concluding where their respective axiomatic systems fall short, i.e., lead to a premature contradiction.
+ First of all, I am comparing Austin to Voloshinov. And is science not all
about admitting divergent views, and discussing those? When quoting Voloshinov
against Austin I didn't say I completely agree with Voloshinov, but that he
proposes a more balanced view than Austin.
Secondly, in the Introduction (see § 1.4) I write as follows about my own position in relation to Voloshinov's:
The primary assumptions Voloshinov applies as ground(s) for his theory are sociological, whereas mine are psychological. But he subsequently achieves a balanced view by making psychological provisions, too. As I introduce important sociological provisions myself, it should come as no surprise that we find ourselves on a tract of common ground(s) even though we start from different perspectives. Many of our conclusions about the nature of language are quite similar. But several are not. If anything, the anatomy of meaning presented here in Part ii is more radically dialogical than the dialogical theory of Voloshinov and Mikhail M. Bakhtin (1895-1975).
And for example in § 1.11 I write:
Voloshinov’s dialogical theory can clearly be recognized as closely related but lacking the psychological emphasis for added variety.
My discussion with Voloshinov continues throughout the treatise.
+ What is the original use? What the reviewer probably suggests is that I
violate Austin's meaning. Do I? Yes and no. When, for example, a marriage is
considered a process that involves speech acts, too, a convergence should be
Of course, the modeling technique of the metapattern is eminently suitable for distinguishing meanings. See figures 12.2.1 and 12.2.2 for examples.
+ Counting Chapter 2 as dealing with Peirce, seven chapters "engage
with specific authors."
In the Introduction, § 1.11, I explain the rationale for the critical chapters of Part ii as follows:
The sequence of Chapters 9 through 12 results from the research orientation to offer comments on Habermas. He builds his own ideas on those of many others among whom I found Austin and Searle on speech act theory, and Mead on social psychology especially relevant as introductions to the theory of communicative action Habermas designed. The choice of treating Austin (Chapter 9) before Mead (Chapter 11) has admittedly been arbitrary. Searle (Chapter 10) who mainly elaborates speech act theory, however, needs to immediately follow Austin. Directly or indirectly, these four authors have inspired the language action paradigm of information modeling. I have tried to discriminate between sense and nonsense in their conceptual schemes. Especially where my comments have turned out predominantly critical, they should aid in understanding – shortcomings of – of the language action view of information systems.
So these chapters are important in providing criticism against adoption of
these authors in support of the language action view of information systems. As
premature contradictions became relevant, the emphasis of the dissertation
research shifted even more toward design of subjective situationism. However,
the critical chapters (nrs 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12) have been retained to stimulate
the much-needed discussion about the axiomatic system underlying the language
I agree with the reviewer that the treatise would gain transparency when structured otherwise. But it would lose more in other respects, I find. I have placed much value on letting the treatise reflect its theme of — dynamics of — semiosis and sign exchange.
+ Searle's Law of Expressibility is an expression of his assumptions. So is
Gendlin's remark an expression of his assumptions. My intention is merely to
Triggered by my quotation from Gendlin, the reviewer inquires how it fits my scheme. In terms of Peirce's triad — and my ennead developed from it — I would first say that situation belongs to a dimension different from the sign dimension. Along the sign dimension, it is the concept of context that corresponds to the concept of situation along the dimension of reality. Again, a situation is not so much "wider" than it is irreducibly different from a corresponding context.
+ When the reviewer has any children, he should remember when he cared for a
newborn baby, if only for just a few minutes. He would have discovered that
much of a baby's behavior is, according to my scheme, request for compliance.
When the baby seems 'unhappy,' first check diaper, then whether (s)he is warm
enough and finally whether (s)he is hungry. If the reviewer takes adequate
measures, he will find the baby happy again soon enough. However, when the
baby's problem persists, the requests for compliance continue.
I realize I have written a multidisciplinary treatise. I wouldn't claim to be an expert on autism, though. What I did pick up from authors such as Ronald Laing is that autism is definitely not an isolated state, at all. The attempt at non-communication is communicative to the core. It is as if the person is silently shouting to be left isolated. Of course, whether autism is a matter of nature of nurture is still very much a bone of contention among specialists. But there seems increased recognition of the contribution of — early, even prenatal — nurture to the condition of autism.
+ The thought experiment, originating with Wundt, is about two dogs. From
the perspective of subjective situationism, neither dog is an
interpretant. In the assumed instance of sign exchange, one dog holds the role
of sign engineer, the other the role of sign observer. They each have an
intellect; that is where their interpretants reside.
How do I know anything about the dogs' motives, the reviewer asks. I write: Let me, as a thought experiment, take the perspective of one of the dogs.
First of all, is this method any different from how Wundt and Mead proceed? Not at all. Failing an empirical test — for lack of relevant "pragmatic unit," time, interest, etc. — and its result, they all revert to what Schopenhauer would likely call application of empathy.
I am therefore only adding an anthropocentric interpretation to a host of others. When I am disqualified for it, so should Wundt, Mead etc. What I am then left to wonder, of course, is how it remains possible to design an axiomatic system. Doesn't it rely for the most part on thought experiment?
It is beyond the scope of my treatise, but wouldn't it be interesting to hypothesize "pragmatic units" in terms of, for example, Mead's assumptions and subjective situationism? I feel confident that my predictions are more precise. But, yes, the outcome of my thought experiment about dog behavior is an untested prediction, as the remarks of Wundt, Mead etc. are.
As a comparison between thought experiments, my predictions certainly deserve "to stand."
For explaining — again, only as a thought experiment — ritual in terms of subjective situationism, I one again refer to my comments above.
Doesn't the same question apply to different persons? The reviewer could equally have asked how one person knows about the motives of another person. Isn't there always a thought experiment of sorts implied? And doesn't this hold especially for a person's own motives?
+ Social psychological assumptions, i.e., assumptions providing space for individual differences, assure more explanatory variety than social assumptions, i.e., assumptions that abstract from differences within a group. I have emphasized this choice in several places.
+ The reviewer calls my position "ill-founded." When I take
subjective situationism as the position he refers to, actually it is not
founded at all. As an axiomatic system, rather, it supplies a
foundation. What the reviewer apparently wants to know is the foundation of the
foundation, but that is precisely what an axiomatic system is about, i.e., to
stop such infinite regress.
Of course, society is a valuable concept, but only as far as it takes us. The inspiration for designing subjective situationism is precisely that something we believe to exist as a society often (also read: for many interests) has become too multi-faceted. For explaining 'its' phenomena we need taking recourse to concepts of finer granularity. It is a problem I have personally encountered from the perspective of conceptual modeling of business information systems.
I am sure many sociologists are running into similar problems. I recognize their efforts through quoting from sociologist D.H. Wrong. I believe that is sufficient for the purpose of my dissertation research. I have not taken up research into a comparison of axiomatic systems in use for sociology as a scientific discipline. All I am suggesting is that the concept of a society might turn out to be too coarse for some purposes. Then, as I write (see the end of Chapter 11):
a scientific discipline of institutions must always be alert, and prepared, to deconstruct its subject matter into … individual subjects. Actually, this holds for all disciplines dealing with motivated acts.
See also Homo Sociologicus (originally published
in German in 1959, new German edition 1964; published in Dutch translation in
1965, Paul Brand) by R. Dahrendorf.
So, I am not at all disclaiming the concept of society but, as subjective situationism suggests, to allocate its use to fitting situations.
About the reviewer’s suggestion to "justify [my position] by engaging with social theorists," I also remark that there are limits to expressing one paradigm in terms of another. As I indicate in my treatise, it only works when one paradigm encompasses the assumptions of the other paradigm. I believe that my critical chapters have made abundantly clear that being forced to express subjective situationism in terms of the — usually implicit — axiomatic systems applied by Eco, Austin, Searle, Mead and Habermas would result in an irreparable reduction. That would amount to compliance, rather than justification.
It hasn't come to my attention that sociologists such as Douglas and Bauman have been called upon to provide grounds for information systems theory and practice. As the scope of my dissertation research is already quite broad, that is already a reason not to pursue a comparison of their theories with subjective situationism, however interesting that might turn out. It must wait for another research effort. My advice would be — as I have tried for the critical chapters in my treatise — to concentrate on developing an explicit model of the authors' respective axiomatic systems.
+ It seems the reviewer doesn't place much trust in the translations I have offered from the German original by Habermas. I regret this, but at the same time I have also become intrigued about what McCarthy has produced. As I have indicated regarding the English translation of Schopenhauer, there I find some original concepts lose from the 'official' translation (which I have tried to remedy).
+ What I am curious about, is why the reviewer seems opposed to such
assumptions. How I read his points, he expresses his strong discontent with
them. Now, as an idealization of rational communicative behavior, I fully
support what I consider as the prescription developed by Habermas. Following
such a program, it is reasonable to expect from the reviewer to express his —
what Habermas calls — "kritisierbaren Geltungsansprüchen" (criticizable
validity claims). With my treatise, I believe I have done so for subjective
situationism (of course, further improvements are always possible). As I have
tried to put forward in § 9.1, the proof of the pudding lies in — the potential
for — avoiding premature contradictions when reasoning about what are taken as
The outcome of a discussion may very well be that participants continue to hold their original axiomatic systems. What at the minimum should have been gained through the discussion is that participants agree to disagree (see § 9.1). Even such continued disagreement might be dissolved by referring to different situations where the respective axiomatic systems are believed to apply. Of course, this again presupposes a concept, i.e., situational variety.
+ For my purpose of designing subjective situationism, purpose and motive may be taken as synonyms.
+ That is right, the concept of empathy is “not justified.” It is axiomatized.
+ Indeed, what if other members of society felt convinced by the idea of a geocentric universe? Already right now, it would be hard to find a serious theorist claiming that society is a thing in the sense of a naive realism.
+ The issue the reviewer raises doesn't seem to me to be my
"understanding of Habermas." Rather, I surmise it is his own
understanding of my rendering of Habermas's theory of communicative action. As
a reader of the German original, for me the references are fully adequate. And
I have full confidence in my English translations, However, as I have already
indicated, I'll be glad to supply the reviewer with additional information
enabling him to efficiently consult McCarthy's translation.
It seems safe to predict that a closer orientation at Habermas's incorporation of the concept of intuition is essential for the reviewer. I am confident my rendering is not erroneous. But, then, the reviewer may convince me that I have misinterpreted Habermas. Would that undermine subjective situationism? Not at all, for there are many other places where Habermas unambiguously states that he is involved in an idealized prescription of the conditions for successful communicative action. His aim with his theory is therefore different from my aim with subjective situationism.
But what, when my analysis of Habermas stands, i.e., after the reviewer has made further study? I hope that his "real concerns with this chapter" diminish.
In the Introduction(see especially § 1.10), and at several other places in the treatise, I have presented several reasons for refraining from orienting my research at — intensive study of a large number of — so-called secondary sources. In fact, the secondary source I studied about Habermas's theory of communicative action left me with the strong impression that I was missing much. This was certainly confirmed when I took up reading Habermas 'himself' on communicative action. I believe the only way to counter possible confusions arising from aggregation of secondary sources is to consult the primary sources through intensive study. In my case, it has really paid off.
Of course, when my dissertation research objective would have been to make an inventory of the reception of Habermas's theory of communicative action, it is obvious that an exhaustive study of secondary sources would have been called for. However, my objective was different. And my analysis of Habermas is only included because the research objective also aims at an investigation of the value of his theory of communicative action as ground, appearing as the language action paradigm, for information systems theory and practice. For that purpose, it was necessary and sufficient to concentrate on his major publication on the subject.
+ More research on the concept of trust in relation to conceptual information modeling should yield important results. I have also stated already, both in my treatise and these comments, that such a treatment lies outside the scope of the treatise.
+ Of course I welcome any point the reviewer raises. In reaction to his remarks about Chapter 13, though, I must say that, in Prelude 13, I position it as follows:
Partly, Chapter 13 is a limited, informal survey. It is informal in the sense that it is more or less appended to the combination of the research process description and the design result itself. I indicate some opportunities for subjective situationism as I see them when applied to conceptual information modeling. I certainly venture to argue for interesting opportunities elsewhere, but I am happy to let those rest outside the scope of this treatise. Chapter 13 also informally addresses several directions for further research related to conceptual modeling. As with a building, laying a proper foundation requires much effort. But the building is only completely finished after much more work. Likewise, subjective situationism is constructively essential, but a foundation nevertheless. I have confidence that it is a promising start for realizing significant improvements in the quality of information systems & services for a world full of variety.
The reviewer's thought experiment considering two (un)trusting bank robbers once again seems to arise from our — as yet — different sets of assumptions. I would say (see also Chapter 8) that bank robber A trusts B to the extend that he expects his interests are served by their relationship. I could add that his trust is limited to the particular situation. Trusting someone else as a bank robber might be very different from trusting that same person in other situations. Note that here situational relationship is the key concept. It sort of carries their sign exchanges. Again, see Chapters 7 and, especially, 8.
+ As Chapter 13 is more or less an appendix to the dissertation, I express myself accordingly:
I loosely conceptualize leadership [...].
Anyway, what I mean by "psychotherapeutic skills" I find adequately indicated there: A leader might be characterized as a broker of interests, including of course his own. His diplomatic skills allow him to build relationships others find interesting enough to invest them with their trust, too. A leader also has, say, psychotherapeutic skills. By respecting autonomy of every other individual he provides for their freedom to be self-responsible for the management of expectations about fulfillment of interests. It helps other persons to develop, and solicit compliance with, interests that are as realistic as they can possibly be. Importantly too, the leader facilitates of actual interest fulfillment.
+ My sentence reads:
Another dilemma is that the professional, as his title rightfully suggests, usually is a superior modeler.
This is an assumption, providing me a perspective to reason from. For a modeler's "essential characteristics," see the end of § 13.6.
+ I suppose the reviewer’s specific points amount to him finding my assumptions indigestible. I have not been able to trace why, though. What seems to have gone under in his distress is a recognition of the plain-and-simple increase in variety in subjective situationism as an axiomatic system for conceptual modeling. Given his apparent irritation about my work, with time I suppose he could easily raise the same number of "specific points" many times over. I am glad he stopped at just over a hundred remarks for that surely is not a constructive direction to pursue.
+ What seems to be the problem? I believe the reviewer feels our axiomatic
systems are at odds. Maybe they are, but as yet I am unable to (re)construct
When indeed his assumptions are largely sociological my assumptions are impossible to explain in terms of his. (The other way around I don't see a fundamental problem, i.e., to position the sociological as a subset of the psychological. It is all a matter of requite variety.)
My impression is, however, that the reviewer expects me to do the impossible, i.e., to explain how my research fits his assumptions. Again as this seems impossible, in my response I have repeated on a smaller scale what my treatise presents. I concentrate on the consistency of subjective situationism.
I would, of course, very much like to learn more about the axiomatic system underlying the reviewer’s specific points. (Only) then a fundamental discussion is possible (for example along the prescriptive lines such as Habermas sketches for communicative action's subclass of orientation at understanding).
+ From the reviewer’s specific points I have also gained the impression that
we apply different concepts under the label of argument. My concept is that an
argument involves reasoning. It is a process, to be conducted according to a
logic. First of all, starting from certain assumptions I myself believe that my
argument bears up to criticism. Secondly, nowhere in the reviewer's specific
points have I discovered conclusive references to errors in argument that he
feels I committed.
So, what argument is it that the reviewer finds "fundamentally flawed"? Does he, after all, refer to my assumptions? Suppose he views many of his specific points as carrying criticism against argument-as-assumption. What I find missing, then, is how he sees such assumptions leading to problems, i.e., to what I call premature contradictions. Indeed, the wording of several specific points suggest to me that the reviewer believes he has caught a irreparable problem in my reasoning and its conclusion. However, I feel I have responded adequately to such challenges, usually by referring to — and for convenience copying from —my manuscript. Even if the dissertation procedure would allow it, I therefore see no reason that his "criticisms must be addressed" by major changes to my manuscript.
+ In § 13.7 I write:
I have adopted [...] an eclectic approach. It involves recurrent choices about the extent of research into another discipline. I propose the practice of due diligence. It is a concept I borrow from auditing. The researcher must exert sufficient effort in order for his results to be presented, as a sign, as a sincere request to observers to comply their objectified realities with them.
It seems I have (also) not been able to make my choice of sources (fully)
acceptable to the reviewer. I hope my response to his specific points aids his
appreciation of my treatise in this respect, too. I expect we should be able to
move our assumptions closer together.
When I am also allowed a general comment it is that the reviewer’s reception of my manuscript so far seems to have the hallmarks of conflicting paradigms. I regret to find myself with my manuscript in such a conflict, however inevitable it probably is when proposing what is viewed as a difference. I am looking forward to constructive discussions, with explicit criticisms and all, ready with subjective situationism to make contributions to productive synthesis at the axiomatic level.
March – April, 2002, web edition 2007 © Pieter Wisse