The Philosophy of Psychology
Publication Year: 1996
Subject: Philosophical Psychology
This essential book provides a comprehensive explanation of the key topics and debates arising in the philosophy of psychology. In editors William O'Donohue and Richard Kitchener's thoughtful examination, philosophy and psychology converge on several themes of great importance such as the foundations of knowledge, the nature of science, rationality, behaviorism, cognitive science, folk psychology, neuropsychology, psychoanalysis, professionalism, and research ethics. The Philosophy of Psychology also provides an in-depth discussion of ethics in counseling and psychiatry while exploring the diverse topics listed above. The internationally renowned group of contributors to this volume both stimulating and informative. The Philosophy of Psychology will be invaluable for students and academics in theories and systems in psychology, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, philosophy of the social sciences, philosophy of the mind, ...
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Naturalism and the Abandonment of Normativity
- Chapter 2: Psychology, Naturalized Epistemology, and Rationality
- Chapter 3: Social Epistemology and Psychology
- Chapter 4: Psychology of Science
- Chapter 5: Genetic Epistemology and Cognitive Psychology of Science
- Chapter 6: Behaviorism as Opposition to Cartesianism
- Chapter 7: Quine's Behaviorism
- Chapter 8: Skinner's Theory of Theories
- Chapter 9: Linguistic Behaviorism as a Philosophy of Empirical Science
- Chapter 10: Skinner's Case for Radical Behaviorism
- Chapter 11: Must Behavior be Mechanistic? Modeling Nonmachines
- Chapter 12: Computational Theories of Cognition
- Chapter 13: Troubles with Computationalism
- Chapter 14: Toward a Naturalized Cognitive Science: A Framework for Cooperation between Philosophy and the Natural Sciences of Intelligent Systems
- Chapter 15: Neurobehavioral Science, Neuropsychology and the Philosophy of Mind
- Chapter 16: Typical Emotions
- Chapter 17: “Folk Psychology” and its Implications for Psychological Science
- The Falsity of Folk Theories: Implications for Psychology and Philosophy
- Does Science Underwrite Our Folk Psychology?
- Folk Psychology from the Standpoint of Conceptual Analysis
- On the Necessary Survival of Folk Psychology
- Folk Psychology and Its Implications for Cognitive Science: Discussion
- Chapter 18: Is Psychoanalysis Viable?
- Chapter 19: The Value of Psychoanalytic Therapy: A Question of Standards
- Chapter 20: What is an Irrational Belief? Rational-Emotive Therapy and Accounts of Rationality
- Chapter 21: The Formation and Transformation of Values
- Chapter 22: Prescriptions for Responsible Psychiatry
- Chapter 23: The Behavior Therapists' Dilemma: Reflections on Autonomy, Informed Consent, and Scientific Psychology
- Chapter 24: Professional Codes of Ethics and Ongoing Moral Problems in Psychology
- Chapter 25: A Critical Examination of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct
Preface, Introduction and Editorial selection ©
William O'Donohue and Richard F. Kitchener 1996
Chapter 1 © Harvey Siegel 1996
Chapter 2 © Harold 1. Brown 1996
Chapter 3 © Steve Fuller 1996
Chapter 4 © Michael E. Gorman 1996
Chapter 6 © Max Hocutt 1996
Chapter 7 © Roger F. Gibson 1996
Chapter 9 © Ullin T. Place 1996
Chapter 10 © Richard Garrett 1996
Chapter 11 © Joseph F. Rychlak 1996
Chapter 12 © Herbert A. Simon 1996
Chapter 13 © Mark H. Bickhard 1996
Chapter 14 © C.A. Hooker 1996
Chapter 15 © Karl H. Pribram 1996
Chapter 16 © Aaron Ben-Ze'ev 1996
Chapter 17 © Ullin T. Place, Nick Chater, Mike Oaksford, Barry C. Smith, Graham Richards, Elizabeth R. Valentine 1996
Chapter 18 © Adolf Grünbaum 1996
Chapter 19 © Edward Erwin 1996
Chapter 20 © William O'Donohue and Jason S. Vass 1996
Chapter 21 © Hugh Lacey and Barry Schwartz 1996
Chapter 22 © Joseph Agassi 1996
Chapter 23 © Jon Ringen 1996
Chapter 24 © Karen Strohm Kitchener 1996
Chapter 25 © William O'Donohue and Richard Mangold 1996
First published 1996
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission in writing from the Publishers.
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As both psychologists and philosophers know, the fields of psychology and philosophy hardly ever stand still (although, because of their natures and subject matters, philosophy tends to be slightly more fixed than psychology). Historically, the relation between these two fields has rarely been one of peaceful coexistence. Originally undifferentiated in antiquity, psychology was a branch of philosophy until recent times. Once having secured its independence, however, it became rather jealous of its new-found autonomy and insisted that its empirical status separated it from arm-chair philosophy. As we point out in our Introduction, this all changed with the Cognitive Revolution. Now, both fields seem willing to concede the other has something to offer (although precisely what that is has always been subject to dispute).
Being trained in both psychology and philosophy, both authors have always thought one could not separate the two fields (except for administrative purposes), and that they should become even more open and receptive to the contribution of the other. Of course, we have not always agreed on the precise relation between psychology and philosophy but we have agreed that this connection is broader than textbooks and anthologies in the field indicate.
Although there are several very good anthologies in the field of “Philosophy and Psychology,” most of them, with few exceptions, center on issues related to Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science. Although securing a central place for these interdisciplinary relations, we also believe they are somewhat broader and incorporate several other areas. Consequently, we have tried to be more sweeping in our selection of contributions and to stress the rather unlimited ways in which psychology and philosophy are related to each other.
With the rise of naturalistic epistemology in the ‘60s, the question of the relations between psychology and epistemology have been much discussed typically in the context of “naturalistic epistemology.” In this area, the interdisciplinary relation has usually run from psychology to epistemology (and not the other way around). Part 1 contains several discussions of these relations between psychology and philosophy, in particular, the autonomy of epistemology, the relevance of psychology and the cognitive sciences for epistemology and philosophy of science, and the psychology of science. Part 1 thus represents what has traditionally been called “foundational” issues in psychology and philosophy. Part 2 is devoted to such foundational issues in the context of what has been one of the most important “research programmes” in psychology and philosophy in the 20th century—behaviorism. Here, the lines of influence between psychology and philosophy go both ways. Although many individuals believe there are no longer any interesting or unresolved issues surrounding philosophical behaviorism and psychological behaviorism, we disagree. The contributions contained in this section illustrate, contrary to this widespread assumption, the many ways in which philosophical issues surrounding behaviorism continue to be of perennial issue.
The status of cognitive psychology and cognitive science is the theme of Part 3. Although the theme of ‘philosophical issues in the cognitive sciences’ continues to be discussed in a plethora of new journals and books, the contributions of our authors are not without originality and merit. Once again, we have encouraged authors from a variety of points of view and approaches to address selected aspects of contemporary cognitive psychology. The reader will note in these essays a bi-directional [Page ix]influence between psychology and philosophy.
In the past, there have been all too few discussions of the connections between psychology and philosophy in the “softer” areas, in particular, clinical psychology and related fields have been under-represented in most textbooks and anthologies in the philosophy of psychology. (Here, it is philosophy which seems to have had a dominant role.) Part 4, therefore, is devoted to philosophical issues in clinical psychology, especially psychoanalysis and rational emotive therapy. We had hoped to include more contributions in this section, but alas we were not able to secure philosophical discussions of other aspects of the softer areas. Partly this is remedied in Part 5, which is concerned with ethical issues in psychology. Whereas the other sections, by and large, were concerned with epistemological and metaphysical issues in psychology, here moral philosophy and ethics loom large. Our experience has been that these issues have not been widely discussed by philosophers and psychologists. But this is precisely one central area where philosophical issues seem unavoidable. Part 5 thus contains a variety of contributions to questions surrounding the question of values in psychology, the nature of responsibility and autonomy, and issues of professional ethical conduct in the context of psychological practice.
All of the contributions to this volume are original; none have been previously published. Our thanks to the authors for their patience and understanding as we proceeded through the long and tedious process of soliciting manuscripts, reviewing and evaluating them, selecting and suggesting changes, etc. Our thanks also to two outside reviewers—George Howard (University of Notre Dame) and Arthur Houts (Memphis State University), who carefully read the entire manuscript and graciously offered extensive suggestions for improvement. Thanks also to Ziyad Marar and Sharon Cawood at Sage.
Bill would like to acknowledge his family, Jane and Katie, and Dick would like to acknowledge his family, Karen and Brian, for their understanding and support as we both spent more time away from our families than we had any right to. But as always they were understanding and supportive.
The Contributors[Page x]
Joseph Agassi has a joint appointment as Professor of Philosophy at Tel-Aviv University and York University, Toronto, and holds a PhD from the London School of Economics. He has authored or edited over twenty books in the areas of science, philosophy and psychiatry.
Aaron Ben-Ze'ev is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Research at the University of Haifa in Israel. His main field of research is philosophy of psychology, and in particular the study of emotions and moral psychology. The author of The Perceptual System: A Philosophical and Psychological Perspective (1993), he is currently completing a book on the study of emotions.
Mark H. Bickard is Henry R. Luce Professor in Cognitive Robotics and the Philosophy of Knowledge at LeHigh University, Pennsylvania. His primary interests concern the nature of psychological processes, such as representation and language. He can be contacted by e-mail: email@example.com or on the internet:
Harold Brown is Professor of Philosophy at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. His main research interests are philosophy of science and theory of knowledge and he is the author of Perception, Theory and Commitment: The New Philosophy of Science (1979), Observation and Objectivity (1981), and Rationality (1988).
Nick Chater is Professor of Psychology at the University of Warwick and specializes in statistical modelling, connectionism and language and reasoning.
Edward Erwin is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami and his chief focus is philosophy and psychotherapy. The author of A Final Accounting: Philosophical and Empirical Issues in
Freudian Psychology (1996), his Philosophy and Psychotherapy: Razing the Troubles of the Brain will be published by Sage in 1996.
Steve Fuller is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Durham, UK. A philosopher of science by training, he taught in departments of philosophy, rhetoric and science studies in the USA, before his appointment to a chair in Durham in 1994. He is the founding editor of the journal Social Epistemology and the author of several books.
Richard Garrett is Professor of Philosophy at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts. His publications and research interests cover a wide range of topics in ethics, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language.
Roger F. Gibson is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. He has teaching and research interests in naturalized epistemology and the philosophy of language, and has written several books on Quine.
Michael E. Gorman is an Associate Professor in the Division of Technology, Culture and Communications at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses on ethics, invention, discovery and communcation. His main focus is experimental simulations of science, described in his book Simulating Science (1992).
Adolf Grünbaum is Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy, Research Professor of Psychiatry, and Chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. His writings deal with the philosophy of physics, the theory of scientific rationality, the philosophy of psychiatry and the critique of theism.[Page xi]
Max Hocutt has been Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama for thirty years. He is retiring editor of Behavior and Philosophy and was a visiting fellow at Oxford, Princeton and St. Andrews. He has written numerous articles on philosophy, psychology and pedagogy.
C.A. Hooker is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Newcastle, Australia. His research focuses on the nature of complex, self-organizing adaptive systems, their integration into a naturalist realist conception of reason and other norms, and their application to both individual and social cognitive processes.
Richard F. Kitchener is Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University and has a special interest in philosophical issues in psychology. He is the author of Piaget's Theory of Knowledge: Genetic Epistemology and Scientific Reason (1986) and The World View of Contemporary Physics: Does it Need a New Metaphysics? (1988).
Hugh Lacey is the Eugene M. Lang Research Professor of Philosophy at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania. In addition to writing numerous articles on the philosophy of science and the philosophy of psychology, he co-authored Behaviorism, Science and Human Nature (1982) with Barry Schwartz. He is currently working on a book about science and values.
Richard Mangold is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Northern Illinois University.
Mike Oaksford is Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Wales in Cardiff. His main areas of interest are human thinking, reasoning and decision making.
William O'Donohue is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. His research specialisms include the study of human sexuality, behavior therapy and the philosophy of psychology. He is the author of many books and articles and is on the editorial board of several journals, including The Journal of Mind and Behavior.
Ullin T. Place is a retired psychologist and philosopher who holds two honorary lectureships, one in philosophy at the University of Leeds, and the other in psychology at the University of Wales, Bangor. His best known publication ‘Is consciousness a brain process?’ (1956) is the primary source for the Australian version of the mind–brain identity theory. His interests include conversation analysis, text analysis, learning theory, connectionism and the neuropsychology of consciousness.
Karl H. Pribram is widely known for his work in neurophysiology, neuropsychology and neurophilosophy and is currently the director of the Center for Brain Research and Informational Sciences at Radford University in Virginia. He is the recipient of numerous awards, notably the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Board of Medical Psychotherapists.
Graham Richards is a member of the faculty of Staffordshire University and is the author of On Psychological Language (1989).
Jon Ringen is Professor and Chair of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Iowa. His current chief interest is in contemporary science studies and his publications include articles on topics in the philosophy of psychology, the philosophy of linguistics and the general philosophy of science.
Joseph F. Rychlak holds the Maude C. Clarke Chair of Psychology at Loyola University of Chicago. He is a past president of the Division of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He is the author of several books and papers on artificial intelligence and logical learning theory.
Barry Schwartz has been a member of the psychology department of Swarthmore College, PA, since 1971. He is presently the Dorwin P. Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action. Among his publications are The Battle for Human Nature (1986) and The Cost of Living: How Market Freedom Erodes the Best Things in Life (1994).
Harvey Siegel is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami. The author of Relativism Refuted (1987), Educating Reason (1988), Rationality Redeemed? (1996), and Reason and Education: Essays in Honor of Israel Scheffler (1997), his key areas of interest are epistemology, philosophy of science and philosophy of education.
Herbert A. Simon is Richard King Mellon University Professor of Computer Science and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. In 1978, he received the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, and in 1986 the National Medal of Science. The central focus of his work is his interest in [Page xii]human decision making and problem solving processes and their implications for social institutions.
Barry C. Smith is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. Specializing in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of psychology and theoretical linguistics, he has a book coming out later this year entitled Realism and Antirealism: An Inquiry into Meaning, Truth and Objectivity.
Karen Strohm Kitchener is a member of the faculty at the University of Denver and has written numerous articles on counseling psychology and ethics.
Elizabeth Valentine is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London and currently Chair of the History and Philosophy Section of the British Psychological Society. She is the author of Conceptual Issues in Psychology (1992) and is chiefly concerned with philosophical problems in consciousness and the psychology of memory and musical performance.
Jason S. Vass is a doctoral student in counseling psychology at Northern Illinois University.
The relation between psychology and philosophy has had a long and checkered career, indeed a long past but a short history since the respective disciplines did not become separated, at least institutionally, until quite recently. But whenever we mark this great divide, it can certainly be said that the relations between the two fields have been one of ‘love–hate’ or ‘approach–avoidance’. It was not too long ago that one could say (Harre & Secord, 1972):
When a behavioural scientist reads philosophical writings, he often feels that the philosopher is being dogmatic and arbitrary, that he is legislating truth instead of leaving it to empirical investigation to discover. When a philosopher reads psychology, he often thinks that the conceptual basis of the study is naive and ill-secured, and developed in a haphazard manner without adequate critical thought, so that the empirical work is vitiated because it is ultimately confused, overlooking distinctions that seem to him obvious. (pp. 2–3)
Indeed, one need only recall Wittgenstein's famous remarks at the close of the Philosophical Investigations:“The confusion and barrenness of psychology is not to be explained by calling it a “young science” … For in psychology there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion (Wittgenstein, 1953, p. 232e).
Historians of psychology sometimes pick the late 19th century (e.g., 1879), as the birth of psychology as a science—an empirical science set apart from philosophy both with respect to its methods and its subject matter (Boring, 1950). Many of the psychologists who championed the separation of psychology from philosophy proceeded, however, to write philosophical textbooks on a variety of subjects—here one need only think of Fechner, Wundt, Stumpf, Külpe, Helmholtz, James, Dewey, Ward, McDougall—on ethics, logic, metaphysics, the mind-body problem, philosophy of science, etc. (Boring, 1950). Apparently these psychologists felt it was perfectly appropriate for an individual to do both psychology and philosophy. Hence the breach was broader in theory than in practice.
With the rise of behaviorism in the 1920's, the separation between psychology and philosophy became more ideologically established as psychology became more professionalized. Indeed, Watson, Weiss, Hunter, Lashley, among others, were vocal and adamant about psychology being radically distinct from philosophy, once again in subject matter—mind vs. behavior—and method—empirical observation vs. introspection and unguarded speculation. On this view, psychology was to be an empirical, natural science—something some earlier psychologists hesitated to claim—investigating the (public) behavior of organisms via purely empirical, observational and experimental means. By contrast, philosophy consisted of pure armchair speculation about unobservable entities often based upon introspection, intuition, etc., and claming some type of transcendent or transcendental certainty. Here, then, was another battle cry of empiricism vs. rationalism, fact vs. theory, fact versus norm, etc. Hence, although philosophers had something to gain from psychology, most of these individuals (e.g., Watson) thought psychology could learn nothing from philosophy, indeed that philosophy should be avoided at all costs.
With the rise of classical neo-behaviorism and learning theory in the ‘30's and ‘40's (Hull, Spence, Guthrie, Skinner, Tolman), the situation changed from an undisguised hostility to a more cooperative endeavor as logical positivism (or logical empiricism) rose to a position of hegemony in the Anglo-American world. Although the standard [Page xiv]or received interpretation, that logical positivism was the philosophical basis of neo-behaviorism (Koch, 1964) seems to be in need of serious qualification and revision (Smith, 1986), the neo-behaviorists and mainstream psychologists of this period looked to this philosophical school for philosophical inspiration and help in laying out the philosophical grounding of their psychology (Turner, 1965); reciprocally, logical positivists such as Carnap, Hempel, Feigl and Bergmann, looked to psychology for answers to the relevant empirical questions and illustrations of their prescriptive philosophical views. During this period (1930–1960), there was a kind of temporary marriage of convenience between mainstream experimental psychology, learning theory, motivation, meta-theory, and logical positivism. In particular, it was the metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science and meta-ethics of logical positivism that psychologists of this period eagerly read and it was the latest scientific results in psychophysics, learning, motivation, emotion, etc., that the logical positivists eagerly assimilated.
During this period of mutual harmony, the logical empiricists formulated what is surely the standard or received view concerning the relation between psychology and philosophy, one that still to this day lies tacitly behind the thinking of many psychologists and philosophers. On this view, inherited ultimately from Frege (1953), and staunchly championed by the logical empiricists, there is a fundamental dichotomy between psychology and philosophy: Psychology is an empirical, natural science, concerned with discovering empirical facts by means of standard empirical methods (observation and experimentation) and inference (induction, hypothetico-deductivism, model building). By contrast, philosophy was seen as a higher-order, meta-level discipline, one that could not compete with psychology over factual issues but a discipline that had taken “the linguistic turn”: Instead of making claims about the world, philosophy was employed in making claims about the linguistic form in which such empirical claims were to be couched. Philosophy was concerned, therefore, with linguistic and conceptual matters, with getting clear about the logic of our (scientific) language, about what our empirical statements really meant, whether such things were really justified (meaningful) or not, etc. Psychology, therefore, made empirical discoveries about the world and philosophers helped psychologists to talk about their results more carefully and adequately. Because psychology operated on the object-language level and philosophy operated on the meta-language level, because psychology made empirical discoveries and philosophy engaged in linguistic, conceptual analysis, there was (and could be) no competition between the two; they were engaged in separate (but equal) tasks.
Of course, on this standard view, the question arose: How is psychology relevant to philosophy? and How is philosophy relevant to psychology? The short of it was that psychology was not relevant to philosophy (properly conceived), nor was philosophy relevant to psychology (properly conceived). Psychology was not relevant to philosophy because psychology was a factual discipline and philosophy was a non-factual (normative, conceptual) discipline. Properly conceived, philosophy had no empirical component, hence nothing empirical would be relevant to it. Of course, there were empirical components to be found in many accounts of traditional philosophy, but this was part of a philosophy improperly conceived and executed. But properly dressed, philosophy contained no empirical part.
On the other hand, philosophy had questionable relevance to psychology because philosophy was non-empirical, conceptual, analytic, normative, and a priori; and psychology was empirical, synthetic, naturalistic, factual and a posteriori. If philosophy was relevant to psychology, it would be because: 1) psychology as practiced tacitly contained philosophical components; and 2) philosophy could provide a conceptual analysis of the linguistic aspects of psychology (Ryle, 1949). However, scientific psychologists were interested in purging these philosophical components (as they were generally seen as unhelpful biases) and conceptual analysis was not regarded as a useful methodology (as compared to observational and experimental methods).
Of course, many philosophers welcomed the opportunity to point out that since the meta-level was superior (in some way) to the object level, philosophy got to call the shots and retain its hegemony about the lesser empirical science. Nelson Goodman (1972) put it this way:
The scientist may use platonistic class constructions, complex numbers, divination by inspection by entrails, or any claptrappery that he thinks may help him get the results he wants. But what he produces then becomes raw material for the philosopher, [Page xv]whose task is to make sense of all this: to clarify, simplify, explain, interpret in understandable terms. The practical scientist does the business but the philosopher keeps the books. (p. 168)
The alternative would have been to argue that psychologists could engage in the philosophical analysis just as well as philosophers could. This would have threatened the hegemony of philosophy as well as undercutting the claim that psychology was an empirical science. Psychologists might, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, with nothing else to do, engage in such philosophical (non-scientific) activity, but they should recognize this for what it was—amateur philosophy—certainly no part of psychology as a science. Hence, philosophy had no relevance for a properly conceived science of psychology.
This conception of the relative standing and aims of psychology and philosophy was part of a long-standing tradition in philosophy (going back at least to Kant) but articulated with great care and brilliance by Frege (1953) and Popper (1965). It was based upon the long-standing view that there is a fundamental dichotomy between the empirical and the philosophical:
Empirical Philosophical “is” (fact) “ought” (norm) observational theoretical synthetic analytic a posteriori a priori contingent necessary
Along with this dichotomy went two correlative fallacies: psychologism—attempting to answer a philosophical question by empirical (psychological) means—and logicism—attempting to answer empirical questions by philosophical means. Typically, philosophers (e.g., Frege, Popper) charged psychologists (and some philosophers) with psychologism; psychologists (e.g., Piaget) charged philosophers (such as Popper, 1972) with the fallacy of logicism.
Three events occurred in the 1960's to change all of this: Quine, Kuhn, and the rise of cognitive science. Quine's (1961) article, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” is suitably recognized as perhaps the most important article in 20th Century Analytic Philosophy. Although challenged and rebutted by several individuals, the verdict of history appears to be that Quine has shown there is no analytic-synthetic distinction, i.e., no distinction between statements true by virtue of the meaning of their terms and those true by virtue of some extra-linguistic fact. Quine argued that a satisfactory account of analyticity could not be found because each of the key terms involved with the notion of analyticity—logical truth, synonymity, and analyticity—could only be defined in terms of the others. Thus, Quine argued that the notion of analyticity was circular or incompletely explicated. What is significant for our purposes is that the breakdown of the analytic-synthetic distinction led to the standard conception of the relation between philosophy and psychology being thrown into doubt, for if there is no analytic-synthetic distinction, what are the respective roles of psychology and philosophy? Once the analytic–synthetic distinction goes, so do the distinctions: a priori/a posteriori, normative/description, the necessary/contingent, etc., for each of the latter depend, in one way or another, on the analytic–synthetic distinction. It is not surprising, therefore, that Quine (1969) soon came to draw the obvious conclusion, viz., that traditional (normative) epistemology, which attempted to provide absolutely certain foundations for all knowledge—“first philosophy”—must be radically reconceptualized and in fact replaced by a naturalistic epistemology (Kornblith, 1994).
Of course, what naturalistic epistemology is supposed to be remains unclear and it may be questioned whether, according to Quine, “Epistemology … simply falls into place as a chapter of psychology and hence of natural science” (1969, p. 82). But at the very least, it appears that psychology is relevant to epistemology. As Goldman (1986), for example, has argued, epistemologists must now pay attention to what is going on in cognitive psychology. But more than this, epistemologists must also look to other fields of psychology, e.g., social psychology, animal and human learning, developmental psychology, etc., which may also shed light on, say, epistemology, a point psychologists have argued for years (Campbell, 1974; Koch, 1964; Skinner, 1957). It is but a short step to claim that not only must epistemology be naturalized, so too must logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, ethics, and so forth. What all of this would involve remains, needless to say, very unclear.
So far, the breakdown of the analytic-synthetic distinction and the emergence of naturalistic epistemology can be interpreted in an asymmetrical way: Philosophy (e.g., epistemology) is to become [Page xvi]naturalized (and perhaps replaced by psychology). But what about psychology? Isn't it in a similar situation? Should it become “normativized” (and replaced by philosophy)? In short, isn't philosophy as a traditional normative discipline relevant to psychology as an empirical science?
Such a conclusion has been drawn by several philosophers, especially those (e.g., Dennett, 1978) influenced by the views of Donald Davidson (1984) on the question of how one goes about interpreting the behavior, beliefs, and assent of others (especially when the other is a thoroughly alien speaker—“radical interpretation”). According to Davidson, the three components of belief, meaning, and holding something to be true are so inescapably bound together that the result is a (semantic) holism. In interpreting, say, what belief an individual holds, one must ascribe truth or falsity to such beliefs based upon certain environmental conditions. In doing so, one should employ “the principle of charity”: The interpreter of a native speaker should assign “truth conditions to alien sentences that make native speakers right when plausibly possible, according, of course, to our view of what is right” (Davidson, 1984, p. 137). Hence to even identify what belief a speaker holds, one must assume that most of his utterances are true, most of her beliefs (and actions) are rational. This rules out, according to Davidson, global skepticism, incommensurability, and cultural relativism.
Furthermore, if rationality is a normative concept, as Davidson believes, then insofar as psychologists are concerned with desires and beliefs, which constitute the mainstay of folk-psychological theory, they will tacitly be immersed in normative claims about rationality. If this view is correct, then normative issues will be necessarily involved in the very construction of a psychological theory of belief. In short, cognitive psychology will have to contain a normative component. (According to Davidson, this would prevent psychology from becoming a natural science like physics.) In so far as the normative realm has traditionally been the province of philosophy, philosophy would be relevant to psychology.
In his “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” Quine criticized not only the analytic–synthetic distinction, he also criticized the empiricist dogma that all meaningful statements are reducible to empirical observations. Quine argued that statements do not face the court of experience individually but rather as a group. Due to this interdependency among statements, the meaning of an individual statement cannot be reduced to a unique set of empirical observations. Quine suggested that in a paradigmatic case of experience confronting belief—that of scientific experimentation—it is the entire web of belief that is involved in making the experimental prediction, not just an isolated statement. Thus, if the prediction turns out to be false, all the individual knows is that some adjustment needs to be made in his web of belief, but experience does not indicate how truth values should be distributed. “Any statement can be held true come what may, if we make drastic enough adjustments elsewhere in the system” (Quine, 1953, p. 27). However, the logical positivists and those influenced by them subscribed to this problematic kind of reductionism, and therefore held that theoretical terms could be eliminated since their meaning was completely dependent upon empirical observation terms (and not other theoretical terms). This was the classical idea, prevalent in the ‘30's, of operationalism and the intervening variable paradigm. However, once the idea became popular that the meaning of theoretical terms had “surplus meaning” and that one could not, therefore, eliminate theoretical terms, it was recognized that theory is inescapable in psychology, even in empirical psychology.
This same point was dramatically shown by the work of Thomas Kuhn (1970) who argued not only for the ineliminability of theoretical terms (“paradigms”) but also that a static (synchronic) epistemology and philosophy of science must include or be replaced by a dynamic (diachronic) epistemology or philosophy of science.
In arguing for the essential ineliminability of theoretical terms, Kuhn (along with several others) argued that “observations are theory-laden,” Hence, it became increasingly important in empirical research to be concerned with issues concerning the nature of a theory, theory-construction, theory-evaluation, and theory choice, issues that required criteria of evaluation. Such criteria—simplicity, quantitative precision, theoretical coherence, depth of explanation, power, plausibility, fertility, etc.—appear to be non-empirical (Kukla, 1994), criteria very much like those rationalists have traditionally employed in evaluating theoretical and philosophical ideas. This gave increasing credence to epistemological rationalism—the traditional home of philosophy. Hence, philosophy appeared to have an important and direct role to play in a science of psychology; it could contribute [Page xvii]to issues of theory-evaluation and the correlative conceptual analyses required. (In suggesting that these criteria of theory-evaluation should be called values [Kuhn, 1977] was suggesting that norms—epistemic norms—had an essential role to play in science. See also Laudan, 1984.) This move towards rationalism was also championed in a somewhat different way by individuals instrumental in establishing the cognitive revolution, e.g., Chomsky (1966, 1972) and, more recently, Anderson (1990). (See also the recent discussions [Brown, 1991; Sorenson, 1992] of the important role of “thought-experiments” in science.)
Although even for the logical positivists, there was philosophical work to be done in science (e.g., constructing formal-logical languages for science, providing conceptual analyses of key constructs), contemporary post-positivistic analyses of science suggest to the psychologist that there is even a larger conceptual-philosophical component of scientific pursuits. Some of the chief extra-empirical concerns include:
- Analyzing the epistemological merits of research methodologies used by various scientists. After all, if the methodology is flawed on epistemic grounds, then the entire research program becomes suspect. Grünbaum's analysis (this volume) of Freud's clinical method is a case in point.
- Explicating and understanding the interconnections in the web of scientific belief. Of particular importance is to understand and identify the interconnections between observations and other elements in the web.
- Identifying problematic moves in the evolution of research programs, for example, the use of ad hoc strategems (Lakatos, 1980) to save a favored view.
- Identifying and assisting in the resolution of the conceptual problems that arise in the theoretical/conceptual aspects of a scientific program. Laudan has argued:
“Even the briefest glance at the history of science makes it clear that the key debates between scientists have centered as much on nonempirical issues as on empirical ones … When … Newton announced his ‘system of the world,’ it encountered almost universal applause for its capacity to solve many critical empirical problems. What troubled many of Newton's contemporaries (including Locke, Berkeley, Huygens, Leibniz) were several conceptual ambiguities and confusions about its foundational assumptions. What was absolute space and why was it needed to do physics? How could bodies conceivably act on one another at-a-distance? What was the source of the new energy which, on Newton's theory, had to be continuously super-added to the world order? How, Leibniz would ask, could Newton's theory be reconciled with an intelligent deity who designed the world? In none of these cases was a critic pointing to an unresolved anomalous empirical problem. They were rather raising acute difficulties of a nonempirical kind.” (Laudan, 1977, p. 46)
For Laudan, scientific progress can occur when a conceptual problem is solved without an increase in the number of empirical problems solved. Laudan suggests that conceptual problems arise when a theory appears to be internally inconsistent, or when its concepts are vague, or when the theory conflicts with other theories that we also believe are true. Laudan suggests that science aims at maximizing the number of solved empirical problems, while minimizing the number of conceptual and anomalous problems.
- Finally, some (O'Donohue, 1989) have argued that in conducting research the psychologist inevitably becomes involved with philosophical commitments because: (1) problem statements (e.g., what developmental factors result in antisocial personality disorder?) presuppose an ontology in that these problem statements make reference to certain entities; (2) research is designed to rule out plausible rival hypotheses, but what is considered plausible is a judgment that is heavily influenced by philosophical beliefs; and (3) the scientists’ problem choice is influenced by philosophical considerations. For example, ethical considerations influence the choice of whether to conduct research on autism or sport performance.
Many individuals claim there was a cognitive revolution in psychology that occurred in the ‘60's (Baars, 1986; Gardner, 1985), some even selecting the year—1957. This was part of a larger revolution—the cognitive revolution—and the rise of cognitive science. Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field including cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, linguistics, neurology, anthropology, etc. Many of the revolutionary features ascribed to the impact of Quine and Kuhn continued during the cognitive revolution, e.g., an increasing stress on the ineliminability of [Page xviii]theory (or paradigms) (de Mey, 1982), a renewed openness to rationalism (Gardner, 1985; Paivio, 1975), an insistence that philosophy is an essential part of cognitive science (Gardner, 1985), etc. Indeed, anyone reading current cognitive science will be struck by the fact that empirical cognitive scientists are knee-deep in philosophical issues, that they recognize this, and do not eschew philosophizing! Indeed, for many empirical cognitive scientists, core issues in cognition are philosophical issues: intentionality, representation, semantics, innate ideas, etc. In fact, many cognitive psychologists are deeply acquainted with issues in contemporary philosophy and do philosophy side by side with philosophers. Correlatively, many contemporary philosophers, in doing philosophy regularly and consistently, cite empirical studies to support their philosophical views about cognition.
That a new marriage of philosophy and psychology occurred in the ‘60's can be illustrated in an illuminating way by mentioning the important appearance of a two-volume work in 1980, edited by Ned Block (Block, 1980), entitled Readings in the Philosophy of Psychology. These volumes contain articles both by psychologists and philosophers on a variety of philosophical issues in cognitive science, e.g., mental representation, imagery, innate ideas. (This interdisciplinary trend has continued with the recent appearance of Goldman, 1993). As Block pointed out, the anthology was not intended to cover the entire field of philosophy of psychology but only that part related to cognitive psychology. It excluded several important areas: perception, memory, developmental psychology, social psychology, personality, emotion, etc. No doubt Block would have preferred his anthology to include these other areas since it would be a misnomer to equate philosophy of cognitive psychology with philosophy of psychology. Indeed, in an invited article (“Philosophy of Psychology”) intended to summarize current research in philosophy of science, Block (1979) made this point. Block characterized the philosophy of psychology in a standard way as ‘the study of conceptual problems of theoretical psychology” (p. 450). Clearly, as Block pointed out, such conceptual problems extend far beyond the realm of cognitive psychology. What then should be included in ‘philosophy of psychology’? How should it be conceptualized and delimited? A similar question arises about the field of philosophy of science: What should it cover? One can argue (Kitchener, 1992)
that it should cover the entire field of philosophy, viz., epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. Similarly, one can argue that the philosophy of psychology should be construed as the study of the epistemology, metaphysics and ethics of psychology. Most of the philosophy of cognitive psychology is focused on metaphysical issues, with lesser attention being paid to the epistemology and methodology of cognitive psychology. By contrast, in the heyday of logical positivism, epistemological issues were supreme. Both areas have systematically neglected ethical issues in psychology; we have tried to fill this gap somewhat by including articles on ethical issues in psychology.
If the philosophy of psychology is defined as the study of the conceptual problems in theoretical psychology, this should certainly include conceptual issues about foundational issues in theoretical psychology, in particular, conceptual issues about the adequacy of current approaches to theoretical psychology. In our view, this should include a more critical examination of the major competing theoretical approaches, including cognitive psychology, behaviorism, Piagetian psychology, Freudian psychology, etc.
Our aim in the present anthology, therefore, is to present a somewhat broader cross-section of work in philosophy and psychology. It is an attempt to build upon the classical anthology of Block but to take it a step further to include broader philosophical issues applied to a greater variety of areas in psychology. This is not meant to demean the importance of cognitive psychology, which clearly lies at the heart and makes up the bulk of current discussions about philosophy of psychology. It is rather to suggest that if there are important philosophical issues in cognitive psychology, there surely are additional philosophical issues in areas falling out of cognitive psychology.
As our historical aperçu has indicated, part of the rationale for the current interest in the relations between philosophy and psychology emerged from a breakdown of the received view concerning the respective roles of philosophy and psychology. In this post-positivistic era, therefore, how can they be demarcated, if at all?
As we have already suggested, one cannot make a sharp distinction between the empirical and the conceptual/theoretical/normative. Psychology qua empirical science ineluctably will be involved in conceptual, theoretical and normative issues; hence psychology will have to become immersed [Page xix]in these more traditional philosophical areas. Philosophy, which has usually been thought to be concerned with the conceptual/theoretical/normative, will have to play close attention to the empirical results of psychology. Naturally, philosophers will be unable to engage in empirical research because their training normally does not include the standard empirical research techniques and statistical knowledge necessary to carry out ordinary laboratory experimentation, field research, observational study, etc. Philosophers will be limited, therefore, to what they are characteristically good at—conceptual analysis.
Should psychologists limit themselves to empirical research methods? We have suggested this is not possible; hence, the answer is obviously, no. Psychologists must, therefore, per force engage in conceptual analysis. But doesn't conceptual analysis likewise require specialized training? Although our answer here can only be tentative, we would suggest the following: Every scientist with a certain minimum level of intelligence and scientific training can engage in conceptual analysis. This is because conceptual analysis is a general intellectual ability the exercise of which is necessary for a great variety of intellectual tasks; hence, it is domain-general, whereas the ability to do empirical research is more domain-specific. This does not mean, however, that this ability is equal in all scientists or that all scientists can do conceptual analysis equally well. Indeed, since it depends both on native intelligence and training, one would expect that those with a greater amount of intelligence would be better at it (ceteris paribus) whether they are philosophers or psychologists, and those with a greater amount of training and practice in it would also, ceteris paribus, be better at it. In short, psychologists can certainly do conceptual analysis (hence philosophy), just as philosophers can; however, for most psychologists, there is a need for professional training and practice in conceptual analysis. To do philosophy of psychology well, therefore, we are suggesting that psychologists have course work in conceptual analysis, e.g., analytic philosophy, philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language.
Indeed, the last few years have seen an increasing number of psychologists taking formal course work in philosophy, e.g., philosophy courses relevant to cognitive psychology. Similarly, philosophers are increasingly turning to courses outside of philosophy to complete their education, especially courses in cognitive science. It is partly because of this new interdisciplinary style of education, that one can say the fields of philosophy of psychology, theoretical psychology, philosophical psychology are flourishing. For example, recent years have seen the appearance of half a dozen new journals in these areas: Behaviorism, Journal of Mind and Behavior, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, New Ideas in Psychology, Philosophical Psychology, Psychological Inquiry, Theory and Psychology. It is in this new spirit of a rapprochement between philosophy and psychology that we publish this new, and we trust exciting, anthology in the philosophy of psychology.References1990). 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