A Glossary of Descriptive Psychology Concepts

What's this all about?


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Reality is the totality of all constraints on the deliberate actions of persons. (Paul Zeiger)

The link between “reality” and “the real world” is the notion of our behavioral possibilities and impossibilities. Whatever else they do, our representations of “the real world” codify our possibilities/impossibilities for behavior. In contrast, the notion of “reality” is directly the notion of those possibilities/impossibilities as such, with emphasis on the latter (“reality constraints”).

Consider what can be done with a dog present. Those things are possible if a dog is present. They are part of the real world for you and me, provided a dog is present. But if dogs suddenly vanished from the universe, no dog-related possibility would be available to us or anyone else—no fetch, no walkies, no dog shows, no breeding, no nothing—except the various ways of bemoaning the loss of dogs. The absence of dogs would be reality or a reality constraint.

The collection of all such constraints is Reality.