Joshua Soffer
University of Chicago
The way that Kelly treats moving from an act of love to an act of hate, via his formulation of the construct of hostility, may indicate how far apart Kelly’s model and embodied intersubjective approaches stand concerning the issue of the fundamental integrity of experiencing. All feeling and emotion for Kelly expresses an awareness of the relative ongoing success or failure in relating new events to one’s outlook. But his definition of hostility stands out from his account of guilt, anxiety, fear and threat in that it consists of a two-stage process. Kelly defines hostility as “the continued effort to extort validational evidence in favor of a type of social prediction which has already proved itself a failure.” Notice that this definition combines awareness of a validational event(invalidation) with a response to that event(extortion of evidence). Furthermore, as we will see, the way in which the first step is understood determines the sense of the second step, and vice versa. The crucial importance of interpretation in fathoming what Kelly meant by hostility can be demonstrated in the following questions: How far-reaching did he mean his definition to be? Is hostility the same thing as anger, and if so, is there such a thing as healthy, adaptive, anger, or do all forms of anger extort evidence? And what about subtle forms of affective perturbation like irritation and annoyance? Are these also forms of hostility?
Keywords hostility, anger, emotion, passion, affect, cognition, intentionality, intersubjectivity, George Kelly, personal construct, phenomenology, embodied, enactive, guilt
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