The place of rationality in Stoicism and REBT -- Ellis and Epictetus: dialogue vs. method in psychotherapy -- The intellectual origins of Rational Psychotherapy: twentieth-century writers -- REBT and rationality: philosophical approaches -- Rationality and the shoulds -- When did a psychologist last discuss "chagrin"?: American psychology's continuing moral project -- The social psychology of "pseudoscience": a brief history -- Historical aspects of mindfulness and self-acceptance in psychotherapy -- Marginalisation is not unbearable, is it even undesirable?
This paper is about rational and irrational uses of deontological words, such as “should”, “ought”, and “must”, referred to as “the shoulds”. Rationality is taken as a mutual relationship between conceptual schemes and human agency. These are expressed in what Bakhtin referred to as authoritative discourse and internally persuasive discourse respectively. When the conceptual scheme is in place and its authority transparent, and there is interplay between authoritative discourse and internally persuasive discourse, then the shoulds are perceived as rational. When (...) the interplay is disrupted or suppressed the shoulds are seen as irrational. Breakdown occurs in two main ways. First, when the effective conceptual schemes are hidden, and the origin of the shoulds obscured. We describe some instances of the latter, from philosophy, psychotherapy, and experimental studies of rationality. Second, in technology and science the mutual relationship sometimes breaks down because authoritative discourse is too powerful, and inhibits the interplay in order to maintain itself. After describing these pathologies, we turn to William James, who drew attention to a repair kit for rationality in his detection of the psychologist's fallacy. Describing the work of Dewey and Husserl as elaborations of this, we distinguished two essential aspects of rationality, disciplinary expressed in authoritative discourse, and emancipatory expressed in internally persuasive discourse. (shrink)
The word ‘pseudoscience’ is a marker of changing worries about science and being a scientist. It played an important role in the philosophical debate on demarcating science from other activities, and was used in popular writings to distance science from cranky theories with scientific pretensions. These uses consolidated a comforting unity in science, a communal space from which pseudoscience is excluded, and the user's right to belong is asserted. The urgency of this process dwindled when attempts to find a formal (...) demarcation petered out, and the growth of social constructionism denied science any special access to truth. The reaction to this led to the science wars, which ushered in a new anxiety in the use of ‘pseudoscience’, especially from the least secure branches. But recent writings on the disunity of science reveal how the sense of support drawn from it may be based on an illusion, creating a disunity of pseudoscience as well as of science. (shrink)
In this paper we attempt to understand the intellectual origins of Albert Ellis' Rational Psychotherapy (now known as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy). In his therapeutic practice Ellis used a 'lumper' argument to replace the focus of change in psychoanalysis: not the lengthy uncovering and reworking of the individual's personal history, but the demands in self-talk through which the client is currently dis turbed. In constructing around this the persuasive (rhetorical) package that became his therapy, Ellis drew on a number of (...) popular intellectual movements, operationalism, General Semantics, the holistic theory of emotion, cognitive psychology, and psychoanalysis itself. (shrink)
The starting-point of this article is Graham Richards’ (1995) claim that American psychology includes a moral project present even before the discipline got underway as a modern institution. We accept this, but identify a different kind of moral project, stemming from the radical critique of morality by Ralph Waldo Emerson, rather than the moral aims of Noah Porter and James McCosh. This leads to a morality based on (but not reducible to) psychological events, and worked out, not in academic psychology, (...) but in the practical disciplines of counselling and psychotherapy. We trace its elaboration from Freud to the writings and practice of Albert Ellis and Carl Rogers. The critique is of a traditional morality of obligation with its discourse of ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’. A parallel is drawn with a similar (and contemporaneous) critique in moral philosophy. (shrink)