ERIC Number: ED194889
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: N/A
Psychology as an Interpretive Activity. Informal Series/18.
Sullivan, Edmund V.
Too often in American psychology, researchers have sought mastery (explanation) of phenomena through prediction and control, thereby eliminating the problems of interpretation by simply eliminating interpretation. This tactic is in contrast to the interpretive works of psychologists, such as Freud, who expect symbols to have double meanings (ambiguity) and who perceive their work as self-reflective and hermeneutical by its very nature. An interpretive matrix can be used to focus attention on the differences in various American psychological perspectives, such as the legacy of Rene Descartes and Giambattista Vico and the problem of psychological method, the reign of logical empiricism in American psychology, the advent of structuralism, and the prospects of a psychological discipline that is self-consciously hermeneutical and critical. The dimensions creating this interpretive matrix include (1) the controlling metaphor or paradigm of the particular psychological method/perspective; (2) the epistemological principles involved; (3) the mode of observation and the process of communication; (4) the treatment of interpretation and the problem of language; (5) meaning and the problem of subjectivity; and (6) the nature of social relations. The value of interpretive activities and perspectives in psychological studies is apparent when the matrix is applied to psychological perspectives. (RL)
Descriptors: Change Strategies, Communication (Thought Transfer), Evaluative Thinking, Fundamental Concepts, Psychology, Theories
Publications Sales, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1V6 ($4.95 paper)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto.