This Center is devoted to the examination of key articles and concepts in the Social Neuroscience literature, reviewed and analyzed from a Descriptive Psychology (DP) perspective. Social Neuroscience is the examination of neurological loci and systems that provide for social behaviors. Descriptive Psychology is a pre-empirical system of concepts, formats, and tools for behavior description, developed by Peter Ossorio, and explicated in multiple publications by him and by his students.
We hope to promote interactions of a certain kind.
First, this Center will focus on the relationship between descriptions of human behavior and social neuroscience findings. We will specifically encourage discussion of when the conceptual or theoretical claims made in social neuroscience papers do or do not conform to the pre-empirical constraints on behavior description suggested by DP. We believe this to be critical to consider if the relationship between neurological systems, on one hand, and what we know to be the case (and must be the case) about human behavior, are to inform one another. We see this type of analysis as the proper domain of DP, because DP provides methods and formal tools for making a determination about in what ways a “way of talking” about behavior is or isn’t “sensible.”
Second, this Center will promote discussions that represent translations from one conceptual framework to another, with an eye to creating conceptual accounts that are more logically coherent and that provide a sounder basis for interpreting a particular empirical finding.
Finally, this Center will also promote discussion of new (refutable) hypotheses that are derived from a DP perspective, concerning the neurological embodiment as it supports social behavior.
As the moderator of this Center, I will periodically post significant papers that present findings that I believe to be methodologically sound and theoretically important. These papers will be chosen because in some way they also bear directly on the conceptual perspective we share as Descriptive Psychologists. My hope is that the conversations stimulated by these articles will generate some fresh ideas that represent the connection between the DP pre-empirical framework, on one hand, and an empirical neuroscience, on the other, that are both central to our understanding of the “world of persons.”
This Center is also available for comments of any kind that concern DP and questions about “embodiment” – not just those that are stimulated by posted papers. The goal is to achieve an open and exciting exchange that will further the “reach” of Descriptive Psychology as a conceptual framework.
My hope is that, as the discussions on this Center evolve, we may also be able to generate conceptual papers of our own that promote and contribute to ways of talking about the relationship between embodiment and behavior, that are non-reductionistic and consistent with a view of persons as actors who produce their behavior as they intend it to be, in a social world of relationships and communities.
Ned Kirsch, Ph.D., Moderator