Publication date: April 2020
Source: New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 57
Author(s): Raymond M. Bergner
This article addresses the longstanding problem that the field of personality psychology remains in need of a consensus formulation of its core subject matter, that of the nature of “personality” itself. Part 1 of the article presents some reminders about the traditional pre-empirical status of concepts in science. Part 2 introduces and calls into question two widely accepted but nonetheless questionable propositions about the nature of personality: (a) that the term refers to an underlying causal entity within a person, and (b) that the study of personality is the study of the whole person. Part 3 presents a definition of “personality”, discussion elaborating and clarifying this definition, and an explication of the ways in which it differs from previous definitions. Part 4 discusses some benefits that accrue both to having a consensus definition in general, and to acceptance of the present definition in particular.