Conceptual Systems and Personality Organization

Conceptual Systems and Personality Organization

Conceptual Systems and Personality Organization

Conceptual Systems and Personality Organization

Excerpt

This book is an outgrowth of interaction among the three authors during the last several years. Our initial aim in these discussions was to consider overlapping aspects of each of our research projects. However, the focus of our discussions very soon turned toward an attempt to delineate some general principles which would accurately represent and integrate our ideas. The purpose of this book, therefore, is to articulate our own thinking through setting forth a general viewpoint and applying it to several diverse content areas in psychology. The aim is to apply a rather broad integrative net to problems with the hope that such application may indicate to us, as well as to the reader, areas in which investigations are required.

As a consequence of this goal the reader should not expect to find a definitive or traditional account of the diverse topics covered, which include conceptual structure, child development, training methods, attitude change, psychopathology, and personality measurement. The most central belief shared by the authors of this book is that many topics and problems in psychology, often treated separately, may be better understood and integrated if considered from a common viewpoint.

In applying our general assumptions to numerous problems, no doubt we have overextended their appropriateness. But we would agree strongly with William James that the only adequate test of a theoretical position is to bring it to bear on as many problems as possible, even until the threshold of absurdity may be attained. So this we have done, mindful of our violation of the oft-repeated "law of parsimony" as it is promitlgated by psychology. We remain unsure, however, of whether "real" parsimony is better served by a minimum of inclusive theoretical assumptions or a maximum of exclusive ones. Surely it will some day become a simple truism that the theory is best which is both most inclusive and most exclusive, which will tell us in what ways more things are of common dimensions, and in what ways more things are of different dimensions.

This book emphasizes mediational processes, concepts or programs, as the integrative unit. It is strongly functional in orientation focusing . . .

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