State University of New York Press

SUNY series, Alternatives in Psychology

Michael A. Wallach

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series, Alternatives in Psychology

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About Psychology

Essays at the Crossroads of History, Theory, and Philosophy

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.

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Last Resistance, The

The Concept of Science as a Defense against Psychoanalysis

Radical and uncompromising, The Last Resistance is a penetrating rediscovery of the essential nature of psychoanalysis. Looking at the Freud wars in the historical context of the rise of modern science and the decline of traditional religion, it shows how outmoded notions of science are used as a resistance to the rational investigation of the self. Unashamedly partisan, this new examination of the controversies raging around psychoanalysis will prove compelling for readers of every faction in the Freudian conflicts.

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Postmodern Psychology of Asian Americans, A

Creating Knowledge of a Racial Minority

Focusing on race, culture, acculturation, ethnicity, and ethnic identity—concepts commonly used to account for the behaviors of Asian Americans and other minorities—A Postmodern Psychology of Asian Americans examines the effects of modern psychology’s epistemological and ontological premises on its investigative methods and concepts. Author Laura Uba looks at the social creation of psychological facts, including portrayals of ethnic and racial groups, and demonstrates, especially in ways pertinent to the study of minorities, that modern psychology needs to reconsider its ways of thinking about study samples, investigative methods, facts, and concepts used to describe and explain behaviors.

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Power of Reinforcement, The

According to Stephen Ray Flora, reinforcement is a very powerful tool for improving the human condition despite often being dismissed as regarding people as less than human and as “overly simplistic.” This book addresses and defends the use of reinforcement principles against a wide variety of attacks. Countering the myths, criticisms, and misrepresentations of reinforcement, including false claims that reinforcement is “rat psychology,” the author shows that building reinforcement theory on basic laboratory research is a strength, not a weakness, and allows unlimited applications to human situations as it promotes well-being and productivity. Also examined are reinforcement contingencies, planned or accidental, as they shape behavioral patterns and repertoires in a positive way.

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Psychology and the Question of Agency

Disciplinary psychology has failed to achieve a coherent conception of human agency. Instead, it oscillates between two differing conceptions of agency that are equally untenable: a scientistic, reductive approach to choice and action, and an instrumental approach that celebrates a romantic notion of free will. This book examines theoretical, philosophical psychology and argues for a historically and socioculturally situated human capacity for choosing and acting in ways not entirely determined by culture and/or biology. The authors present a detailed developmental theory of how agentic capability emerges from the pre-reflective activity of humans in a real physical and social world. Implications of the theory are considered for psychological research and practice, and for the broader socio-political impact of disciplinary psychology in Western liberal democracies.

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