The relationship between NLP and science is in interesting one, with potential for misunderstandings on both sides. As a one-time professional scientist myself (with a physics PhD to show for it) I will address some of the points raised by Jaap Hollander, and hope to outline a number of possible alternative ways for improving the relationship. I will start off by examining the question as to what scientists believe, which in my view turns out to be more NLP-friendly than Hollander might suppose. We will follow this with the ways in which science could investigate NLP, and finally look at how similar processes are being used to investigate other psycho-social processes.
NLP World 7, No 1 pp 51 - 60 ( 2000 )
Philosophers since recorded time began have been struggling with the concept of "reality" and whether it exists, either in objective form or indeed anywhere outside the thinker's thoughts. William of Occam lived from 1290 to 1349, a period when philosophy was dominated by the Scholastics, whose aim was to integrate knowledge derived from human reason with the understanding granted by divine (Christian) revelation. His lasting contribution to philosophical thought is the principle that "it is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer" - in other words, one should cut away assumptions as if with a razor (hence Occam's Razor) and strive for simplicity.
What has Occam to say to a modern student of NLP? Like Occam, NLP makes a virtue of distinguishing between what we can detect with our own senses and what we deduce from a variety of sources - experience, reading, generalising, rationalising etc (as well as the twentieth century equivalents of divine revelation, which add the theories of the myriad schools of psychology to the older theological traditions).
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