The current issue of The Journal of Adult Development addresses one of the threads of adult development, namely stage and stage change. There are four major forms of adult developmental study that can be identified: positive adult development, directionless change, stasis, and decline. The first of the four forms, positive adult developmental processes, is divided into at least six areas of study: hierarchical complexity (orders, stages), knowledge, experience, expertise, wisdom, and spirituality. The topic of this special issue, stage and stage change, is therefore part of the study of positive adult developmental processes. Finally, the manner in which these topics are studied both in this special issue and elsewhere can be characterized in terms of three broad classifications (Commons & Bresette, 2000, Commons & Miller, 1998) for the acquisition of knowledge and the verification of truth in general. These classifications include analytic, experiential, and empirical means to reach truth.
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