Advances in Descriptive Psychology, Volume 7

H. Joel Jeffrey, Raymond M. Bergner (Eds.) / Published December, 1988 / Hardcover

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The work of Peter Ossorio, beginning with the publication of Persons in the early 1960s, created a new discipline for the scientific study of persons: Descriptive Psychology. Just as physics is the discipline in which the core concepts are matter, energy, and physical movement, and the scientific work is carefully and precisely articulating the relationships among them, Descriptive Psychology is the discipline in which the core concepts are person, behavior, language, and the real world, and the scientific work is carefully and precisely articulating the relationships between persons, what they do, what they say, and the world in which these things take place. Ossorio of course is not the first person to address these topics, which have been the focus of philosophers and psychologists for millenia; he is the first to articulate a rigorous, precise, coherent conceptual framework for doing so.

A discipline that actually addresses something as fundamental as the nature of human behavior in the real world would be expected to have extraordinarily broad application, and that is exactly what the several volumes of work that comprise Advances in Descriptive Psychology show. Topics in which the concepts of Descriptive Psychology have been used to yield new insights, fundamental re-conceptualizations, and useful techniques include, among others, psychotherapy and psychopathology, information retrieval (including a recent patent on a search algorithm), artificial intelligence, spirituality, culture and identity, economics, and computer simulation of human organizations and cultures. This volume, the seventh in the Advances series, continues that pattern. The reader will find highly original work in three general areas: ontology and consciousness; being a member of a culture; and education and coaching.

The volume begins with Ossorio’s “What There Is, How Things Are,†a profound and unique treatment of the most basic of questions: what does it mean to say that a person exists, and can we articulate the facts about people without being forced into the intractable logical dilemma of reductionism and materialism? Following this, the reader will find work addressing in fundamentally different ways the central concepts of cognitive science and of consciousness; a unique analysis of the work by the famous film maker Akira Kurosawa; papers addressing some of the most important social and political issues of our day, namely membership and identity in cultures; the psychological and psychotherapeutic handling of self-criticism; techniques for the classroom teacher; and a thorough discussion of the central issues in coaching (in and out of sports): leadership, motivation, and teaching.

The payoff of having a solid foundation is that you can build higher without having the structure become unsound. Taken together, the work in Advances in Descriptive Psychology, Vol. VII, illustrates that payoff, in the form of analyses, conceptualizations, and techniques in a highly diverse range of subjects, that cannot be found anywhere else. -- H. Joel Jeffrey