Personal functioning can only be sensibly scientifically investigated by focusing on it as it happens in real-life activities where a person unequivocally commits themselves. That means the royal road to scientific understanding of personal functioning is found in the study of endeavours.
Anis a goal-directed course of action that:
The technical-material dimension of endeavours, where substitution of persons is irrelevant, has been the preferred focus and beneficiary of scientific study and technological development.
Example: In “building a bridge”, scientific and engineering principles underpin choice of materials, load-bearing calculations, complex machinery &c.
However, the experiential and intrinsically personal aspect is primary, because the identity and pursuit of endeavours is determined by who is involved, how they feel, and the views of others who are affected. This aspect covers matters like:
Studying the personal aspect of endeavour has led to frameworks that can be converted into highly practical and socially beneficial intellectual technologies. The taxonomic schemas within THEE help us to understand and master ourselves and our situations as we pursue challenging endeavours.
Cognitive neuroscience, following current social science, ignores endeavour as the logical frame of reference for studying the «mind». As a result, items of personal functioning are devitalized, taken out of context and deprived of needed influences from relevant associated elements. Conceptual confusion is also evident. An associated common error is to ascribe to neurons functions that can only be ascribed to persons e.g. registering, checking, comparing, mapping.
The first task of science is to provide order amongst phenomena in a field.
A taxonomy identifies and orders all elements that exist within that portion of reality selected as a field of scientific study. If the schema is comprehensive, unified, dynamic, useful and atheoretical, then the taxonomy is a model or map of that portion of reality.
Example: Anatomy of the human body. Note that anatomy is not regarded as a theory, even if it contains uncertainties or errors. In the same way, THEE is not a theory.
To get a step-change in efficiency, effectiveness and ethics within social life, we need a science-based taxonomy that maps endeavour in terms of personal functioning.
THEE, the Taxonomy of Human Elements in Endeavour, is an impersonal scientific product purporting to represent and map all practical, social, organisational, emotional, intellectual, ethical and spiritual elements (as entity-categories) actually or potentially existent in the endeavours that constitute our lives.
These elements are all metaphysical in nature, but they can be brought into awareness, closely observed, and socially shared. Notice that these are elements of personal functioning i.e. the taxonomic field is an inescapable ever-present pervasive reality (as terms of reference) for all of us. It is impossible to take up a position outside it.
Taxonomic entity-categories are recognized and arranged in structures (frameworks) via their:
● Function – the essence that contributes to personal functioning.
● Properties – distinguishing qualities
● Relationships – effects and interactions.
In 2014, personal functioning as modeled by THEE was reformulated as a system of discrete linked Domains. Each Domain contains a distinctive triplet of structured fundamentals: a Vehicle that generates an Effect and operates within a Field. Each Domains has its own specialised system of intrinsic Controls, and there are also two sets of over-arching Ethical Controls.
Originally posted: 1-March-2015. Last amended 22-May-2015.