This book covers key movements that helped to shape psychology – from the early philosophical debate between rationalism and empiricism or realists and antirealists through to the emergence of psychology as a science and the ongoing debates about ‘objectivity’ and ‘truth’ and what a science of psychology should be. Often nuanced and complex, the author examines major conceptual issues in the history of psychology that continue to be debated and influence public policy and lay understanding. The latter stages of the book explore notions of individuality, hereditarianism, critical psychology, and feminist perspectives. While deeply rooted in human history, it is made clear that psychology, how it is conceived and practiced, has a bearing on our understanding of what it is to be human. Accessible, objective and above all comprehensive, this book will help students locate psychology in the wider field of science and understand the forces that continue to shape and define it.
Chapter 7: Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Science
The philosophy of science, excepting Francis Bacon, is a relatively modern branch of philosophical inquiry, having been subsumed within theory of knowledge in general that deals with issues specific to modern science (Harré, 1967). The scientific method, as discussed in Chapter 3, is rooted in natural philosophy and the development of a means of rational inquiry. It involves issues of epistemology (theory of knowledge) and ontology (the nature of existence). Philosophers of science have been concerned with the nature of reality and how best to inquire into it, including identifying what are considered fruitless avenues of exploration (such as metaphysical questions regarding reality and truth). As we delve into the issues we will consider the following:
- Empiricist philosophy as ...