K. Davis, F. Lubuguin, W. Schwartz (Eds.) / Published September, 2010 / Hardcover
The first section of this volume demonstrates the power, utility, and applicability of Descriptive Psychology (DP) concepts by addressing a broad range of meaningful and important real-life phenomena and problems. As a comprehensive intellectual discipline, DP concepts provide compelling perspectives for comprehending significant aspects of the human condition and practical strategies for solving human problems. By precisely describing, distinguishing among, and explicating the fundamental concepts of important phenomena, DP effectively increases the behavior potential of persons engaged in these phenomena. The clarity that these explications provide improves the understanding of the phenomena, which in turn enhances the competence with which persons can engage in these important endeavors. The particular endeavors addressed in this first section are: (a) enhancing a personâs core competence, which is the competence of being a person âin a world of persons and their waysâ (Ossorio, 2006), (b) teaching clinical psychology doctoral graduate students to become culturally competent psychotherapists, (c) making forensic evaluation of persons more responsive to matters of essential concern to the court, (d) improving the rehabilitation of disabled persons with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries and/or spinal cord injuries, (e) gaining a clearer understanding of a core life problem characterized by the diminished meaningfulness of persons who are acutely aware of their inevitable death, and providing several specific therapeutic interventions, and (f) understanding the complexities and ordinary mysteries in the process of dying, and the ways in which a person can facilitate a personal death.
âWorldsâ and âworld constructionâ were there at the beginning of Descriptive Psychology (Davis, 1981). But the canonical presentation of these distinctions came in Ossorioâs (1971/1975/1978/2005) âWhat Actually Happens,â and in Mary Robertsâ (1985) âWorlds and World Reconstructionâ where she laid out the ways in which dreams and stories might function in world reconstruction. In this second section, we have an opportunity to see elaborations and advances in the applications of these distinctions.
Establishing common ground where ideas and meanings can be shared is a foundation for shared purpose and for productive use of differences in perspective. Communities have members who share values, knowledge, and skills relevant to their particular positions. The effectiveness of persons in their roles is bounded, among other things, by the adequacy of the concepts they employ. The papers that follow demonstrate how Descriptive Psychology provides a set of precise conceptual tools that foster access to significant distinctions vital to a variety of communities. The first of the essays provides a basic orientation to Descriptive Psychology, the second articulates a mathematical formulation of "structure", the third, a clarification of criminality, the fourth unpacks a negotiation of conflict between secular and the religious communities, and the last presents a cautionary note about how significant knowledge and practice can be lost if not adequately transmitted.
Ludwig Wittgenstein taught that meanings follow from use and cannot be private. âUseâ, an action concept, implies a performance, an observable operation or practice, something that can be done, well or poorly. Effective use is an appropriate criterion in evaluating the fit of any concept to actual or potential practice. Peter Ossorio and others, in a manner advocated by Wittgenstein, built the subject matter of Descriptive Psychology. In the resulting conceptual system, effective use and competent practice takes the place that truth values take in ontological systems and metaphysics. The concepts of Descriptive Psychology were designed and articulated using the criteria of real world fit and behavioral effectiveness.
A community develops its objective standards in correspondence to the effective and competent outcomes of the community’s identifying social practices. Shared use requires recognizably shared social practices based on shared elements, operations, and structures, the shared âforms of lifeâ that Wittgenstein argued are required for the verbal behaviors he called âlanguage gamesâ to be played successfully. The essays in this last section of the Advances, in their various ways, create useful and public access to key behavioral distinctions that enhance access to particular subject matters.