Facts and Values
From: L. Michael Hall
2021 Neurons #81
December 20, 2021
A day came in Maslow’s life when he made a big semantic leap. It happened the day that he said that facts can be both description and normative. Now that is a big leap! In this he suggested that facts do not just point out what is, but also what ought to be. You may recall (Neurons #78) that Maslow said that facts can tell you what to do.
Now to facilitate this leap, he also said he would call such the words which facilitate this semantic leap—“fusion-words.” For him, these words describe “a fusion of facts and values.” If facticity tells us about the data (the empirical information at the sensory level), then fusion-words like...
“... mature, evolved, developed, stunted, crippled, fully functioning, graceful, awkward, clumsy, self-actualization, diminution” and the like are “fusions of the normative and the descriptive” (Farther Reaches of
Human Nature, 1971, p. 28)
Words in that list are fusion-words. In NLP we recognize them mostly as nominalizations. In Meta-States many of them are evaluations and classifications that exist at a level up from the primary level. And, for what reason did Maslow bring them up and invent this idea of fusion-words? Maslow wrote this in the context of critiquing science for falling into the trap of attempting to be value-free. But the very idea of a value-free science or world, he noted, was non-normative and non-human.
“Fusion concepts and words permit us to participate in the normal advance of science and knowledge from its phenomenological and experiential beginnings on toward greater reliability, great validity, greater confidence, greater exactness, greater sharing with others and agreement with them.” (Ibid., p. 28)