Within contemporary personality psychology there is widespread consensus that, at long last, the basic elements of "the" human personality have been empirically discovered, and that the systematic search for the underlying causes and consequences of personality differences can be pursued on this basis. The putatively basic trait dimensions are neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, and are referred to collectively as "the Big Five." In the present article, this perspective on the psychology of personality is examined critically and found wanting. (...) It is argued that neither the "Big Five" framework in particular nor trait "psychology" more generally is adequate as the basis for a scientific psychology of the human person. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Were it one's purpose to set rolling in scornful impatience the eyes of those who currently animate the discipline of personality psychology, one could scarcely do better than to initiate some discussion of the so-called "nomothetic vs. idiographic" controversy, a dispute that has nagged the field for at least the past 50 years. The author has been persuaded that the need for such an analysis will prevail for just so long as it takes the legion but, alas, ersatz "nomotheticists' of (...) personality psychology to finally get it right: The knowledge yielded by conventional' 'nomothetic' personality research has never been, is not now, and will never be nomothetic in any sense of the term to which a personality theorist would be compelled to bow. When all is said and done, it is only this dogma, as fallacious as it is resilient, that has nourished some six decades of "nomothetic" hegemony and, in the process, served repeatedly as the grounds for summarily banishing to their collective corner dispirited critics such as Allport . But while the intimidating hubris of psychometric sophisticates may heretofore have muted many who, in their alleged "romanticism" dared to challenge conventional "nomothetic" wisdom, such browbeating does not dispel ghosts—Teutonic or otherwise. There are certain essentially epistemological problems with which apologists for traditional "nomotheticism" simply must come to grips, and if prior critics of the dominant paradigm failed to articulate those problems adequately , then the struggle must be joined anew, because the problems are genuine and they are not just going to evaporate. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Reviews the book, What’s behind the research? Discovering hidden assumptions in the behavioral sciences by Brent D. Slife and Richard N. Williams . As the book's subtitle indicates, the authors' purpose is to assist the reader in Discovering hidden assumptions in the behavioral sciences, a worthy objective not likely to be realized simply through a love affair with "information" and its packaging. Slife and Williams state their mission clearly: "Presenting hidden assumptions, along with their costs and consequences, is our task (...) in this book. Whether you are a student of the behavioral sciences, therapist, educator, businessperson, or simply a consumer of behavioral science information, you will need to know the implicit ideas in that information. What are the main interpretations of the data by scientists? What alternative methods are available for gathering knowledge? What ideas are embedded in the usual approaches to abnormality and treatment? Are there other ideas available for generating solutions to human problems? Do conventional approaches to business or education include assumptions about the world or human nature that are questionable or unacceptable to the people who use them? We attempt to answer these and many other questions." In most respects, Slife and Williams do a splendid job at this. Many of the central conceptual issues Slife and Williams have raised have been treated before 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Following a brief discussion of the need for a psychology of personality conceived as something other than the assessment and study of individual differences, the present article is addressed to four misconceptions which must be eliminated if this goal is ever to be realized. The four misconceptions are that to abandon the traditional individual differences paradigm is to abandon the search for so-called nomothetic principles; that to advocate the study of individuals is to advocate the study of just one individual; (...) that to argue against the assessment and study of individual differences is to deny that such differences paradigm are methodological “softies.” The author’s vision of explanation in a reconceived psychology of personality is developed within the context of the discussion of these misconceptions. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Published in two volumes, these books provide a student audience with an excellent scholarly edition of Malthus' Essay on Population. Written in 1798 as a polite attack on post-French revolutionary speculations on the theme of social and human perfectibility, it remains one of the most powerful statements of the limits to human hopes set by the tension between population growth and natural resources. Based on the authoritative variorum edition of the versions of the Essay published between 1803 and 1826, and (...) complete with full introduction and bibliographic apparatus, this edition is intended to show how Malthusianism impinges on the history of political thought, and how the author's reputation as a population theorist and political economist was established. (shrink)
We consider the implications of trends in the number of U.S. farmers and food imports on the question of what role U.S. farmers have in an increasingly global agrifood system. Our discussion stems from the argument some scholars have made that American consumers can import their food more cheaply from other countries than it can produce it. We consider the distinction between U.S. farmers and agriculture and the effect of the U.S. food footprint on developing nations to argue there might (...) be an important role for U.S. farmers, even if it appears Americans don’t need them. For instance, we may need to protect U.S. farmland and, by implication, U.S. farmers, for future food security needs both domestic and international. We also explore the role of U.S. farmers by considering the question of whether food is a privilege or a right. Although Americans seem to accept that food is a privilege, many scholars and commentators argue that, at least on a global scale, food is a right, particularly for the world’s poor and hungry. If this is the case, then U.S. farmers might have a role in meeting the associated obligation to ensure that the poor of the world have enough food to eat. We look at the consequences of determining that food is a right versus a privilege and the implications of that decision for agricultural subsidies as well as U.S. agriculture and nutrition policies. (shrink)
This book is a lucid and readable account of Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, James, and Santayana, not only as contributors to present-day secularism, but as precursors of religious liberalism. Beck traces the theme of "secularism and human values" through these thinkers, though difficulties arise from the fact that they represent a radical divergence of philosophic interests, and in any case would hardly have recognized, much less defended, the particular variety of secularism and religious liberalism that has arisen in recent (...) times, and with which the author associates them.—T. E. V. (shrink)
This new edition of William James’s 1909 classic, A Pluralistic Universe reproduces the original text, only modernizing the spelling. The books has been annotated throughout to clarify James’s points of reference and discussion. There is a new, fuller index, a brief chronology of James’s life, and a new bibliography—chiefly based on James’s own references. The editor, H.G. Callaway, has included a new Introduction which elucidates the legacy of Jamesian pluralism to survey some related questions of contemporary (...) American society. -/- A Pluralistic Universe was the last major book James published during his life time. It is a substantial philosophical work, devoted to a thorough-going criticism of Hegelian monism and Absolutism—and the exploration of philosophical and social-theological alternatives. Our world of some one hundred years on is much the better for James’s contributions; and understanding James’s pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding. At present, we are more certain that American is, and is best, a pluralistic society, than we are of what particular forms our pluralism should take. Keeping an eye out for social interpretations of Jamesian pluralism, this new philosophical reading casts light on our twenty-first century alternatives by reference to prior American experience and developments. -/- . (shrink)
William James had the courage to experience the collision of European and American ways of thinking head on, and to emerge from it with a new philosophy - one displaying a remarkable vitality for dealing with the transformative issues at the core of the human condition. This easy to read introduction to his life and work explains why James' work is overwhelmingly valuable to us today in getting to grips with the spiritual dimension of human experience.
he rest of the world has made merry over the Chicago man's legendary saying that 'Chicago hasn't had time: to get round to culture yet, but when she does strike her, she'll make her hum.' Already the prophecy is fulfilling itself in a dazzling manner. Chicago has a School of Thought! -- a school of thought which, it is safe to predict, will figure in literature as the School of Chicago for twenty-five years to come. Some universities have plenty of (...) thought to show, but no school; others plenty of school, but no thought. The University of Chicago, by its Decennial, Publications, shows real thought and a real school. Professor John Dewey, and at least ten of his disciples, have collectively put into the world a statement, homogeneous in spite of so many coöperating minds, of a view of the world, both theoretical and ~practical, which is so simple, massive, and positive that, in spite of the fact that many parts of it yet need to be worked out, it deserves the title of a new system of philosophy. If it be as true as it is original, its publication must be reckoned an important event. The present reviewer, for one, strongly suspects it of being true. (shrink)
In Spoils of War, a diverse group of distinguished contributors suggest that acts of aggression resulting from the racism and sexism inherent in social institutions can be viewed as a sort of "war," experienced daily by women of color.
Intellectual history and the history of political thought are siblings, perhaps even twins. They have similar origins and use similar materials. They attract many of the same friends and make some of the same enemies. Yet like most siblings, they have different temperaments and ambitions. This essay explores the family resemblances and draws out the contrasts by examining two major works by one of the most prominent political theorists of the past half-century, Alan Ryan, who has recently published two big (...) books that intellectual historians will find rewarding and provocative. (shrink)