Latents

Reality comprises not only what is actually given but also dispositions, habits, tendencies, and the forces generating them. Let us say that reality also includes latents. Even if these may not be actually detectable in any given  situation, they may nevertheless be there. Latents may become actual, if proper triggering conditions are in place, or they may be lost in the process. The simplest case of latents is given by dispositions, which can be described under the label “what would happen if” (what would happen if sugar were added to a liquid). Occasionally, latents can be perceived even when they are not exercised.

They form a kind of halo around persons and situations. Individual and group decisions can actually  be based on the perception of latents. The lack of a general theory of latents, however, makes it difficult both to organize systematically the psychological data already available and to guide research towards a better understanding of the less known aspects of the perception of latents. Be that as it may, a major difference between the behavior of people and the behavior of institutions is that the latter seem remarkably less able to perceive latents.  

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