Philosophical Psychology 17 (2):275 – 295 (2004)

Maurice Schouten
Last affiliation: Tilburg University
This review essay critically discusses Andre Kukla's Methods of theoretical psychology. It is argued that Kukla mistakenly tries to build his case for theorizing in psychology as a separate discipline on a dubious distinction between theory and observation. He then argues that the demise of empiricism implies a return of some form of rationalism, which entails an autonomous role for theorizing in psychology. Having shown how this theory-observation dichotomy goes back to traditional and largely abandoned ideas in epistemology, an alternative is presented in the guise of the pragmatist or functionalist tradition, where the interdependence of theory, observation and action is emphasized and the positivist dichotomy of pure observations and pure theory is rejected. Furthermore, we show how recent work on "active" perception supports the functionalist approach. Although the authors agree with Kukla that theory has a legitimate place in psychology, it is suggested that he needlessly limits its scope to autonomous domain-neutral theorizing, and that broadening its perspective to analyzing the presuppositions and implications of empirical work is a more fruitful approach. In fact, the attempt to find the epistemological and philosophical implications of empirical work in perception that is sketched in this review essay is, in the authors' view, a case of theorizing in psychology.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/0951508042000239075
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,177
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.

View all 65 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Theory-Observation Distinction.Andre Kukla - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105 (2):173-230.
Evaluating New Wave Reductionism: The Case of Vision.M. K. D. Schouten, H. Looren de Jong & D. Eck - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):167 - 196.
Observation Reconsidered.Jerry Fodor - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (March):23-43.
Toward a Science of Experience.André Kukla - 1983 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 4 (2):231-246.
On the Social Dimensions of Moral Psychology.John D. GreenwooD - 2011 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 41 (4):333-364.
Non-Empirical Issues in Psychology.André Kukla - 1989 - American Psychologist 44:485-94.


Added to PP index

Total views
54 ( #208,487 of 2,499,677 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #418,206 of 2,499,677 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes