ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

中国科学院心理研究所

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后经验主义时代的理论心理学

1. 南京师范大学心理学研究所，南京 210097
• 收稿日期:2006-06-06 修回日期:1900-01-01 出版日期:2007-01-30 发布日期:2007-01-30
• 通讯作者: 叶浩生

Theoretical Psychology in a Post-Empiricist Era

Ye-Haosheng

1. Institute of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China
• Received:2006-06-06 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2007-01-30 Published:2007-01-30
• Contact: Ye Haosheng

Abstract:

With the progressive undermining of empirical positivism， psychology is now entering a post-empiricist era. New understanding has been taken on the relation between theory and observation. Theory is no more a second-class enterprise psychologists make in spare time after completing the difficult empirical researches. Rather, theory is active and the empirical facts gain their meanings from their theory. On this account, theory is not from the generalization and induction of empirical facts, instead theory is a social construction and is invented by the people in a particular culture and society. In addition, theory in a post-empiricist era is not a finished product. They are only provisional and are the conversation with our colleagues in the field of psychology. In the empiricist era, philosophical fundamentals of theoretical psychology is empiricism and positivism, but in the post-empiricist era, theoretical psychology is based on Kuhn’s theory of paradigm, Husserl’s phenomenology, hermeneutics and social constructionism. All the doctrines have stood as the critical counter to the empiricist tradition. Kuhn claims that the paradigm is in essence a theoretical framework that dictates which is a fact and which is not a fact. Therefore, theory is of importance in scientific activity. The phenomenological tradition emphasize the metaphysical method which is a kind of theoretical thinking. The hermeneutic perspective criticize the empiricist view that understanding can be derived from observation. It has laid the groundwork for what is commonly viewed as an interpretive science. According to the perspective, the study of psychological phenomena is irreducibly interpretive. Interpretation is also a way of theoretical thinking. Therefore, the hermeneutics can be in support of theoretical psychology. Social constructionism argue that no theoretical views can warrant its own truth either with evidence or empirical data, for all the theories are a social construction and we have no way to validate these claims. Psychological phenomenon are also a product of social construction. Therefore we need theoretical thinking to facilitate the capacity of theory construction. Due to the demise of the empiricist standards for evaluating theoretical positions, we need alternative criterion for evaluation. The conceptual and logic standard is one of them. The evaluation of theory does not always need the correspondence with empirical evidences. For the most problems on which psychologists investigate, theoretical psychologists can analyze them by thought with the help of the logics. The second one is value and ideological standard. For the empiricism, good science is value-neutral, ideological evaluation should not be involved in scientific investigation. However, scholars have become increasingly aware of the relationship of science to the society and culture, and have reached the conclusion that there is no means of achieving scientifically neutral theory. Therefore, the value and ideological standard can be taken as an useful criterion for theoretical psychologists. Rhetorical and narrative analysis also play an increasingly important role in scientific thinking. It is recognized that the way in which we represent the world in our theories is strongly influence by conventions of representation. Because rules of rhetoric and narration guide the process of representation, therefore, they also have an impact on the scientific inquiry. Rhetorical and narrative analysis thus become another criterion for evaluating theory. Finally, social practice and application may also function as an evaluating standard. By the combination of theory and action, the validity and usefulness of theories can be confirmed