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Porus, V.N. (2008). How to explain? Fork in road of psychology

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Methodology and History of Psychology. 2008. Volume 3. Issue 1
Specifics of Psychological Explanation
Scientific article
How to explain? Fork in road of psychology
The variety of types of explanations are sometimes taken as evidence of its methodological "immaturity" in modern psychology. It follows that it could buy the status of "mature" science, if it were possible to reduce these types to some fundamental level. This takes into account a negative lesson of "logical empiricism": the inability to substantiate the science on base on "unified" language of observation. Therefore, it offers a different way of "reductionism": abstracting from the original properties of psychological phenomena, explain them on the basis of a fundamental scientific theories, gradually narrowing their circle. The article proposes a different approach: the transformation of the explanations of psychological phenomena to build not a ladder of "levels of explanation", on which you can climb up (or down) to such "fundamentals", which has withdrawn the explanation of the scope of psychology, but the topological system in which “levels” or "types" of the explanations are as mutual "transcription", ways of reading their meanings in other languages. This approach echoes the methodological abduction (in the sense of C.S. Peirce) – the nomination and selection of hypotheses about the semantic connection of different types of explanation in psychology and their subsequent verification. Its goal – the organic unity of the various explanatory possibilities of psychology. The experimental refutation of some explanatory hypothesis affects the entire or almost the entire range of different scientific and psychological explanations, which can not remain indifferent to such refutation. At the same time questions about the nature of denials, the empirical basis of psychology acquire a new poignancy, as well as about meaning of "increase its empirical content of theories" (I. Lakatos) or "competition between different explanans".
  • method of psychology
  • reductionism
  • development of science
  • explanation
  • topological system of explanations
  • scientificity
  • sceintific community
  • paradigm
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To cite this article
Porus, V.N. (2008). How to explain? Fork in road of psychology. Methodology and History of Psychology, 3(1), 88-97.

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