Talk:Neurolinguistic programming

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Actionpotential argues that while some NLP is New Age and commercialised, the real NLP is not. "Sections of the community are attempting to bring it in line with legitimate scientific practice". "Grinder clearly distinguished the NLP epistemology from an empirical epistemology which he believes is overextended in western society. They propose further research and attempt to correct some of the flaws in previous studies. " [1]

NLP is not a branch of epistemology (I've yet to find any reference to NLP in any epistemology text). Further, it does not have an epistomology. Grinder makes allusions to epistemological concepts but this is far from having an epistemology. NLP "modelling" cannot be justifiably characterised as an epistomology. It is a methodology with a set of epistemological assumptions and it is neither a unique method of inquiry or theory of knowledge. flavius 02:43, 25 November 2005 (UTC) [39]

Bateson's experimental epistemology ("cybernetic epistemology") has no currency amongst contemporary epistemologists and it isn't even taught in undergraduate philosophy curricula. It isn't taken seriously as a contribution to epistemology. General Systems Theory -- which is one of its influences -- is dead. Bateson's Double-Bind Theory of Schizophrenia has been thoroughly refuted. NLP is conceptually and philosophically discordant and incoherent, this is what Levelt (1995) has written on.

On the one hand NLP (superficially) incorporates a Structuralist orientation and terminology (Transformational Grammar, General Systems Theory, Cybernetics, "pattern", "content", "Overarching Framework", Meta-language etc.) and on the other hand it attempts to incorporate an entirely incompatible Post-Structuralst (Post-Modern) orientation and terminology ("the map is not the territory", "the territory is not even the territory" (Whispering), "nominalization", "reality" mediated by language, eclecticism, intuition as a legitimate method of inquiry, no privileged worldview etc.). NLP is not based on Batesonian Cybernetic Epistemology any more than it is based on Chomskyan Transformational Grammar. Most of the elements that NLP claims as its intellectual antecedents are irreconcilable. NLP theory doesn't work -- this is what Levelt and Drenth tell us.

Bandler and Grinder's reference to Chomsky, Bateson, von Bertalanffy, Turing etc is just name dropping, that isn't just my opinion. An indicator that Grinder is not serious (and if he isn't serious at this stage of his life he most likely never will be) about epistemology is the imperialism evident in Whispering. Epistemology is literally thousands of years old, it is one of the most important branches of philosophy and it "belongs" to the community of philosophers (they do it the best and they are its custodians). Yet Grinder -- in true pseudoscientist fashion -- ignores our philosophical heritage. He doesn't use any standard philosophical nomenclature, he describes well-known (amongst philosophers) epistemological theories without bothering to label them as per the philosophy lexicon, and he doesn't justify his ostensibly novel theorising in terms of the existing epistemological literature and how his actvity relates to the existing field of epistemology. At the risk of offending you, my advice to you is to read some undergraduate texts on epistemology and perhaps social theory (if the Structuralist/Post-Structuralist tensions within NLP theory are not apparent to you). flavius 11:50, 26 November 2005 (UTC) [41] [2]

Is it an epistemology? This question implies an unconventional understanding of the word epistemology. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the scope, limits, nature and basis of human knowledge. Saying "an epistemology" implies that there are a multitude of epistemologies. There are a multitude of epistemological theories (eg. Realism, Constructivism, Instrumentalism, Idealism, Representationalism) but there is only one epistemology, i.e. the branch of philosophy. So NLP can't be "an epistemology" in the same sense that something can't be "an archeology" (when we say "an archeology of Egypt" we are not referring to some special species of Egyptian archeology we are referring to archeological knowledge pertaining to Egypt). Is there an epistemological theory embedded within NLP? Yes, certainly (see my earlier discussion on this) but this is unremarkable. There is an epistemological theory embedded even in everyday experience (eg. the inductive logic we employ when we say "lemons are sour"). Saying "NLP is an epistemology" is a linguistic trick that enables NLPers to smuggle in specific epistemological theory whilst maintaining the pretence that they "don't do theory" and simultaneously avoiding the need for justification of the details of those specific epistemological theories.

Within specific sciences and branches of technology the word "model" has a well-defined meaning even though usage of the term may vary between various disciplines (eg. a structural engineers notion of a model is different from a physicists). Outside of these technical contexts the term model is ambiguous. What exactly does it mean to say that "NLP is a model"? NLP is not predictive. NLP is not concerned with explanation. NLP is not a simulation. NLP does not engage in hypothesis testing (such that it yields limited gerneralisations en route to producing laws). All of the standard understandings of "model" have been exhausted. Hence NLP can't be described as a model. By a process of elimination the only domain of human experience that we have left is religiosity. Tye (1994) argues that NLP produces a "psycho shaman effect" (p.4) which is described as a combination of "cognitive dissonance, placebo effect, and therapist charisma" (p.5). Thus the NLP practitioner/therapist is like a shaman.

The aspects of religiosity within NLP extend further than this. It is essentially faith based, tenets are validated in the same way as many religions, namely, with reference solely to subjective experience. NLP promotes the notion of unlimited personal possibility and potential: all that separates me from Albert Einstein (a figure often mentioned but usually misunderstood in NLP literature and seminars) is that we have different "strategies" i.e. sequences of sensory based represnetations. NLP also promotes the idea that all behavior is learnt (this notion is incidentally inconsistent with Chomskyan linguistics). Taken together these two premises form a conception of "human nature" -- this too is a facet of religiosity. The ethical system of the quasi-religion is supplied by the notion of ecology. The techniques of NLP -- having being demonstrated to have no real effect -- comprise ritual and ceremony. Deification is distributed between the "all powerfull unconscious" (the source of all power) and the upper echelons of the training industry pyramid (who as shamans know the secrets of the unconscious).

The demons of NLP are suggestions, linguistic ambiguities and embedded commands that threaten to enter our unconscious mind and manifest some harmful reality (see 45). NLP supplies the incantations and rituals necessary to repel or exorcise these demons. NLP defines sinful behavior: Meta-Model violations or failure to honour the presuppositions attracts censure. The most dramatic ritual is of course the Fast Phobia Cure, this is NLPs equivalent of Christian charismatic healing or perhaps an exorcism. flavius 17:32, 9 December 2005 (UTC) [46]

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