Since its inception, experimental social psychology has arguably been of two minds about the nature and role of theory. Contemporary social psychology's experimental approach has been strongly informed by the “nomological-deductive” approach of Carl Hempel in tandem with the “hypothetico-deducive” approach of Karl Popper. Social psychology's commitment to this hybrid model of science has produced at least two serious obstacles to more fruitful theorizing about human experience: the problem of situational specificity, and the manifest impossibility of formulating meaningful general laws of human social behavior. It is argued that a social psychology based on the search for this kind of lawfulness, under the auspices of either a strict or loose interpretation of the largely Hempelian model, is ultimately unworkable. An alternative approach to social psychology that is attentive both to the need for understanding individual situations and behaviors and to the need for generalized understanding of actual human behaviors is offered. This approach is grounded in the hermeneutic tradition.
Keywords Carl Hempel  philosophy of science  hermeneutics  contextualism  nomological‐deductive
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DOI 10.1111/jtsb.12111
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Logic of Explanation.Carl Gustav Hempel & Paul Oppenheim - 1948 - Philosophy of Science 15 (2):135-175.
Being and Time.Ronald W. Hepburn - 1964 - Philosophical Quarterly 14 (56):276.
Philosophy of Natural Science.Carl G. Hempel - 1967 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):70-72.

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Citations of this work BETA

Non Causal Theories and Using Auxiliary Assumptions to Handle Situation‐Specificity.David Trafimow - 2017 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 47 (2):154-158.
Hermeneutic Theory and Objectivism in Social Psychology.Joshua W. Clegg - 2017 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 47 (2):159-163.

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