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By Sanford L. Drob Ph. D


Abstract: The author proposes a dialectical/realist solution to the problem of multiple paradigms in psychology. Specifically, he argues that theoretical models in psychology are akin to various two-dimensional maps of the three-dimensional, spherical earth. In cartography each projection serves as a complementary, if ultimately inadequate, perspective on the whole, in a context where a “total perspective ” is impracticable. Like such cartographic projections, each paradigm in psychology (biological, behavioral, cognitive, systems, psychoanalytic, phenomenological, etc.) necessarily distorts certain aspects of human mind and behavior while being accurate regarding others which are, in turn, distorted by other points of view. The author argues that the various paradigms in psychology emerge as a result of (combinations of) answers to fundamental problems in the philosophy of psychology. These are the problems of: (1) free will vs. determinism, (2) materialism vs. phenomenology, (3) reductionism vs. emergent properties, (4) public vs. private criteria for psychological propositions, (5) the individual vs. the system as the basic unit of inquiry and description, (6) facts vs. interpretations (hermeneutics) as the datum of psychology, and (7) knowledge vs. unknowability as a basic methodologica

Year: 2013
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