Round 3: Regarding Objectivity and Causality -- A Rejoinder to Fishman and Miller


  • Barbara S. Held Department of Psychology, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME



objectivist epistemology, objectivist ontology, causality, perspectivism, relativism, moral philosophy


In this rejoinder I respond separately to Daniel Fishman’s and Ronald B. Miller’s respective arguments regarding my views about objectivity and causality, owing to the fact that Fishman finds a place for “objectivity” and “causality” within his theoretical model whereas Miller does not. First, I question the basis for Fishman’s conclusion that coherence and pragmatic models are objectivist according to my definition of an objectivist epistemology. I also challenge his claim to have included “causal mechanisms” in his pragmatic system of therapy, since he gives them no ontological status other than that of “conceptual tools.” Second, I challenge Miller’s claim that clinical knowledge cannot be objective knowledge because it is moral knowledge in which what one observes is allegedly determined by one’s moral perspective. I also question his insistence that causal explanation in the physical world so departs from causal explanation in the human world that the word “cause” cannot be used in the latter without causing confusion. But if that is so, then the moral accountability and repair that Miller seeks in clinical practice may be hard to obtain.




How to Cite

Held, B. S. (2006). Round 3: Regarding Objectivity and Causality -- A Rejoinder to Fishman and Miller. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 2(4).