It is finding an answer to the question: why do we do what
we do? Any such answer is to be scientific, including nothing
unable to be assessed. Note: I did not say 'measured'. What is
and is not science has yet to be established, but I can say that
I accept no current views or definitions as adequate (see key
word 'theory of science').
It seems to be not dealing with people to discuss a theory describing
all that is the person in abstract terms. But this distinction
as you will see, becomes crucial. It is a function of the question:
what is it we can know of all people? And how does this understanding
fit to a specific person in specific circumstances?
Imagine a pendulum, it can be simply a weight on the end of a
piece of string. The formula describing the time period of the
pendulum is given by multiplying a constant (twice pi divided
by the square root of the gravity constant) by the square root
of the length summarised as T= ƒL (period is a function
of length). This then is our theory of the pendulum.
Question: what is the period of a pendulum in Timbuktu? Can we
establish it from the theory? The answer is yes, if we get some
one to measure the length of the pendulum and then insert the
value in the theory we can calculate the period. (Note also, to
be exact we would need to get the precise value of the gravity
constant at Timbuktu, because that would effect our answer.)
I argue that any theory of psychology must bear the same relationship
with a person in some specific circumstances. The theory can only
describe what information we need and how that information relates
to the answer we seek. I argue it is and can never be any other
The effect of this is to draw a sharp distinction between a variable
such as length, and the value of that variable in specific circumstances.
See key word 'theory of science'. For something as simple as length,
this seems obvious. For people it is not so obvious, for the consequence
is to distinguish between those variables able to describe all
that we do and could do, and the values of those variables. The
variables and the relationship between them are our theory, while
the values of the variables describe the living reality for some
person in some situation. A further consequence is that every
set of living values, because in part of the complexity is unique.
Consciousness is unique for each and every one of us, and is how
the values of the variables come together in us. Understanding
of our unique consciousness can only be achieved by measuring
the values of the variables as they are expressed in I.
The intent here is to create a general theory of psychology that
embraces all that we are. But it will not and cannot tell us what
it is like to be you or me.