The scientific study that underpins this website was driven by an urge to be of service to people in difficulty, and a belief that ignorance was a major contributor, even the prime cause, of needless problems in projects and human relationships.
The approach is observational, and the style of research is objectivist. This research did not fit into empirical science as conventionally practised within psychology or sociology. It quickly became evident that investigation of personal functioning is unavoidably transdisciplinary.
Initial findings were framework-focused and published in the 1980's and 1990's. Later studies elaborated more frameworks of various sorts, and ultimately enabled their unification. This material has been posted on this website over the past decade.
It may seem surprising, or reflect on my caution, but it has taken a long time to clarify the deeper nature of these taxonomic studies and findings. This foundational work is still in its infancy.
In these opening Topics, I will introduce three conceptions that I now (2015) regard as essential:
I call this part of the website, the Hub. It explains the basic conceptions, and centralizes taxonomic principles which have been discovered and developed over several decades.
The Hub aims to explain the Taxonomy and its adherence to basic scientific values. In particular, the Topics to follow:
The 18th Century Age of Enlightenment finally overthrew superstition and rigid doctrine. It advocated reason and rationality as the primary sources of authority for knowledge. It is noticeable that the resultant progress led to massive technological gains, but did rather little to stop war, genocide or inhumanity.
Now the New Enlightenment of the 21st Century is underway, with the goal of overthrowing the prevailing distrust of human experience. It advocates self-awareness and ethical reasoning. (More details.) Such reflection is the only valid means of handling personal and social issues. It alone offers the possibility of a more humane existence for all.
But we need a scientific approach. Only through a systematic and rigorous account of personal functioning can there be a solid foundation for progress. This website is part of the beginning of such a project. Being scientific, it cannot be the final word. It is part of a slow piecemeal process in which errors are removed by testing and formulations are continuously checked and refined or radically altered.
A: Personal functioning in psychosocial reality.
At present, closely related ideas about the mind and personal life are spread out amongst numerous disciplines and domains in the social sciences and philosophy, and in the less formal professional literature relating to therapy, life advice and management consultancy.
Such scattering impedes any overview, and the diversity of contexts inhibits broader reflections. The end result is that particular ideas often get unnecessarily captured by a single perspective.
In the effort to synthesize and integrate, these taxonomic studies:
Much of the material in the Hub is technical or abstract. To ensure precision, taxonomic inquiry requires its own terminology. The Hub explains the needed terminology. These terms naturally sound like jargon to the uninitiated.
Jargon is kept to a minimum in the posted Frameworks. However, some is unavoidable. The meaning can be immediately clarified by clicking on the Terms tab at the top of the left-hand column, and clicking on the problematic term. For further details, return to the Hub.
These scientific studies cannot be ethically neutral. They must assume and require personal autonomy and the acceptance of responsibility, as hand-maidens of reflective awareness.
The Taxonomy and its Frameworks are unavoidably constructed out of words and should be viewed as a « ». These specify how psychosocial reality can and should be constructed and maintained.
The ethical challenge posed by this body of work is whether the structures with their meanings:
► are practical &/or useful
► are judged as «good» &/or «right»
► feel natural (i.e. intrinsic to the human condition)
as well as being
► coherent, consistent and testable.
This can only be determined if you explore the various Satellites in a receptive, curious and open-minded way. Your readiness to reflect, discuss and re-think will bring the ideas alive.
More comprehensive and speculative formulations are provided in the Architecture Room.
Originally posted: May 2010; Last amended: 25-Mar-2016