This book does not present a theory of personality. Necessarily, there is some resemblance, but theory is not my intent. Like a phenomenologist preparing for research, my aim is to explicate my assumptions and the pattern of my assumptions in an organized fashion. In this sense, the book offers a frame for looking and seeing, a way to direct attention that highlights the possibilities of openness and reflective criticism. At least my feeling at the end was not of having said something so much as having gotten ready to say something.
This book is intended to frame ideas into a coherent foundation for understanding persons and conducting research. I have not spent much space in reviewing theories, in arguing for or against viewpoints, or on detailed analyses of current topics. Rather, my aim is to present a systematic amplification of a central concept, one that I believe is capable of integrating and reconciling factions and fragments of personology. This core notion is the concept of a position.
My central assumption, modestly enough, is that people are position takers. Less modestly, the most characteristic thing people do as persons is to take positions or stances toward the elements of their experience. People take positions on events, others, issues, policies, attributes, actions, themselves, and on the positions they take. People take positions on concrete aspects of an immediate situation, on life as a whole, and on the cosmos. Combinations of positions result in a larger position or composition. People define themselves by the positions they take, and life can be viewed as a position (or positions) en-