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About Psychology

Essays at the Crossroads of History, Theory, and Philosophy

Darryl B. Hill, Michael J. Kral

Publication Year: 2003

Demonstrating how psychologists use theory, philosophy, and history to illuminate the subjects they study, this book explores both the obstacles and benefits of integrating these perspectives into contemporary Western psychology. It offers a timely survey of current ideas at the crossroads of these disciplines and represents new ideas about how psychology can respond to changes on what it means to be human and on how to further this knowledge. The convergence of history, theory, and philosophy is examined from three perspectives: the reconsideration of the importance of context in psychology; the argument that psychology is embedded in morality, values, and politics; and the consideration of the practice of such convergence, looking at how history, theory, and philosophy function in psychology. This book presents contemporary thinking by noted scholars who have made significant contributions to a re-visioning of psychology.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series, Alternatives in Psychology


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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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p. vii-vii

It is because their definitions are less than clear and increasingly overlapping that bringing history, philosophy, and psychology to a common ground becomes timely and important. Their differences become even less apparent when in critical dialogue. The inspiration for this book came from our experience as past editors of the History and Philosophy of Psychology Bulletin,...

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1. Convergence and Conjunction at the Crossroads

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pp. 1-18

THE SOCIAL AND HUMAN SCIENCES are undergoing a conceptual transformation. While some of this change is taking place in the method and focus of research, at this time most of it is located in the realm of ideas concerning the theory, history, and philosophy of the human condition. There has been a shifting over the last century, and especially...

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2. Where History, Theory, and Philosophy Meet: The Biography of Psychological Objects

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pp. 19-34

A RECENT VOLUME of contributions to the history of science appeared under the somewhat unusual title, The Biographies of Scientific Objects (Daston,2000). The papers collected in this volume dealt with the historical trajectory of such “scientific objects” as cytoplasmic particles, the ether, culture, and economic value; in other words, objects from both the natural and the social...

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3. The Moral Dimension of Psychological Practice, Theory, and Subject Matter

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pp. 35-54

NOT LONG AGO it was commonly held that the subject matter of psychology and its scientific study were morally neutral, an understanding expressed in the phrase “value-free science.” We have come a long way inthe last half century, and few will be found among us today who defend this view. But fewer still, it appears, are willing to embrace the consequences of...

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4. Psychotherapists As Crypto-Missionaries: An Exemplar on the Crossroads of History, Theory, and Philosophy

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pp. 55-72

THIS CHAPTER DESCRIBES an intriguing case of the “crossroads” of history, theory, and philosophy. As we will attempt to show, there is simply no meaningful way to understand the role of values in contemporary psychotherapy without these crossroads, and understanding this role is now sorely needed. Never has there been more tension or tumult surrounding...

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5. A Theory of Personhood for Psychology

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pp. 73-88

PERSONHOOD, AND RELATED TERMS such as being and agency, have not commonly been employed in mainstream disciplinary psychology, although there has been a small but significant surge of interest in these topics in the 1990s, especially among theoretical, social, and personality psychologists. On the other hand, terms such as self and identity seem to saturate much past and contemporary literature...

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6. Self-Esteem and the Demoralized Self: A Geneaology of Self Research and Measurement

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pp. 89-108

ONE OF THE MOST ESSENTIAL and, ironically, problematic concepts for psychology is the concept of the “self.” While the self is a well known and traversed concept within the personality area, it is also an integral (if theoretically implicit) part of many psychological theories; aspects of social, health, abnormal, and clinical psychology, as well as others...

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7. Cultural Turns in Psychology

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pp. 109-126

FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY, the discipline of psychology has sought truths that transcend culture, race, ethnicity, and history. Convinced that psychic unity exists, and that its general laws and specific features could be determined through scientific inquiry, psychologists set out to discover them. Many contemporary psychologists in the United States remain committed...

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8. Feminists Rethink Gender

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pp. 127-146

FEMINIST PSYCHOLOGISTS have thought critically about gender1 during periods of feminist political action. The discipline of psychology, as it has been traditionally practiced, does not encourage social critiques. However, when supported by broader movements for social change, some psycholo-...

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9. Retrieving the Past for the Future: Boundary Maintenance in Historical and Theoretical Psychology

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pp. 147-164

THE HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGY as a specialty within the discipline has undergone major changes over recent years, taking on broad intellectual considerations originally external to psychology and gradually infusing the very way in which some historians of psychology have come to write and speak of their subject. Such diverse influences include the rethinking...


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pp. 165-168


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pp. 169-182

E-ISBN-13: 9780791486979
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791457030
Print-ISBN-10: 0791457036

Page Count: 182
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: SUNY series, Alternatives in Psychology