chapter  1
Alternative Readings of the Competence–Performance Relation
Pages 14

A book about criteria for competence would do well to begin with an effort to become really clear about what the referents of concepts of competence are meant to be. Awkwardly, nothing like that happens here, at least at the outset, and for much of the same reasons that a book of this sort is needed in the first place. The relevant literature is simply too riddled with contradictory claims to permit any such easy show of definitional solidarity. Among the important things about which there is no clear consensus are whether such competency concepts are best understood as observational or interpretive, descriptive or normative, technologistic or teleological; whether they represent type or pattern concepts rather than empirical generalizations; and still more importantly, whether they are intended to elucidate or actually cause concrete performances. The absence of agreement on these and other similarly fundamental questions effectively scuttles all thoughts about all introductory naming of the parts .