Classical Generative Psychology originally defined itself against the Structuralist Psychological tradition (cf.. Halle, M. (1952) The Mind Patterns of Russians) but clearly owes a lot to its predecessor. The structuralist psychological school regarded human beings to be uninterpretable in isolation, as only the oppositions between the members of a sociological system shape the members themselves. As Trubetzkoy writes in his Grundzüge der Psychologie (1939),
“Members of a social inventory perceive each other through the filters of the oppositions between the members themselves. Therefore an individual set in a different society will be perceived differently as the contrasts shaping that particular society are notably different: Thus, this is the reason people say things like ‘Boy, John sure has changed a lot since his year in Italy.’ ”
Jakobson, Freud & Halle, in the ground breaking Preliminaries to Brain Analysis, expand this theory and define a set of equipollent features based on emotional mood and intellect, such as [± happy] or [± reads Dostoevsky]. The leading role of structuralist psychology, however, reaches an abrupt end with the publication of Noam Chomsky’s Synaptic Structures (1957). Chomsky defines the mind as the “set of well-
(a) [John loves Mary.]
(b) [John hates Mary.]
Chomsky claims that the sentences (a-b) are derived from the single underlying representation /John loves Mary./ by a number of extrinsically ordered mood-
Later on, Chomsky and Halle extended their book with a Chapter 9 in which they claim that love is the unmarked and hate is the marked value for a relationship such as above, as our world is built on love. This latter added idea has been the subject of heavy debate ever since.
These basic tenets of the Classical Generative Psychology school have been, since the Summer of Love, attacked and commented variously
Kaye, Lowenstamm & Vergnaud scrutinize the original John loves Mary example in great detail and come to the conclusion that Classical Generative Psychology is utterly and totally wrong, as the underlying representation is, in fact, John hates Mary. They claim that John has neutral charm, since it has an O in it, whereas Mary has negative charm, at least certainly not enough to charm John, which fact is partly due to the A of Mary. The charming theory of KLV is partly extended by John Harris, who claims that O and A are elements interpretable in isolation as blOod and bAile, along with phlEgm and black bIle, thus the elements O, A, E & I stand for the four humors which constitute the human psyche. Harris claims that these humors can surface in isolation as the bodily fluids themselves. Scheer extends the inventory of elements with S, standing for the well-
Goldsmith put forward the notion that John and Mary are on different tiers and engage in skeletal relations only if the timing slots allow it. McCarthy amended this theory with the idea that perhaps John and Mary perform a tier conflation to associate with each other. McCarthy’s analysis of Semitic languages led him to the conclusion that the origin of misunderstanding between Arabs and Israelis is that they are on different tiers. He later went on to fling up Sympathy Theory to model the social preferences of young individuals. This unripe model was developed completely by McCarthy’s Hungarian follower Megkárti János, in his spanelmélet (‘friendship-
Spanelmélet leads us to today’s dominant paradigm in Generative Psychology, Pessimality Theory, originally developed by Prince and Smolensky, one year before Kurt Cobain’s death, which left a deep impression on the theory itself. Prince and Smolensky suppose that John and Mary want to be in a local conjunction with each other, but they are quite pessimistic about whether such a thing will eventually occur. McCarthy presumes that John and Mary’s correspondence ceased lately, as Mary did not want to reduplicate and John turned to filles de joie instead.
Pessimality Theory has accurate predictions in counting the stress in relationships by employing constraints on the faithfulness of spouses and accepting in principle the richness of all that is base in human nature. It faces considerable difficulties, however, in dealing with relational opacity when, in spite of an alleged and reputed optimal relationship, couples slowly counterbleed each other to death.
As we can see from the above, Generative Psychology still faces a number of challenges and unanswered questions. This brief introduction could only sum up the most important schools and trends of this field. One last notable example would be Füle & Szigetvári’s analysis of Antigone in a CV-