This paper sketches a historical account of interdisciplinarity. A central claim advanced is that the modern array of scientific and humanistic disciplines and interdisciplinarity emerged together; both are moving targets, which must therefore be studied historically in relation to one another as institutionalized practices. A second claim is that of a steadily increasing complexity; new fields emerged on the boundaries of existing disciplines beginning in the late nineteenth century, followed by multi- and transdisciplinary initiatives in the twentieth, and finally transdisciplinary (...) programmatic research in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The latter two phases in this development have been driven primarily by funding agencies seeking to move the sciences in particular directions deemed socially or politically desirable (in dictatorships as well as democracies), while the existing disciplines remained in place and new ones came into being. Such policy initiatives have transformed both disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity in unanticipated ways. The question whether multi- or transdisciplinary arrangements produce epistemically better science or scholarship appears not to have been raised, let alone examined, by the policy actors driving their creation. (shrink)
This is an interdisciplinary collection of new essays by philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists and historians on the question: What has determined and what should determine the territory or the boundaries of the discipline named "psychology"? Both the contents - in terms of concepts - and the methods - in terms of instruments - are analyzed. Among the contributors are Mitchell Ash, Paul Baltes, Jochen Brandtstädter, Gerd Gigerenzer, Michael Heidelberger, Gerhard Roth, and Thomas Sturm.
What roles have instruments played in psychology and related disciplines? How have instruments affected the dynamics of psychological research, with what possibilities and limits? What is a psychological instrument? This paper provides a conceptual foundation for specific case studies concerning such questions. The discussion begins by challenging widely accepted assumptions about the subject and analyzing the general relations between scientific experimentation and the uses of instruments in psychology. Building on this analysis, a deliberately inclusive definition of what constitutes a psychological (...) instrument is proposed. The discussion then takes up the relation between instrumentation and theories, and differentiates in greater detail the roles instruments have had over the course of psychology’s history. Finally, the authors offer an approach to evaluating the possibilities and limitations of instruments in psychology. (shrink)
It is no longer necessary to defend current historiography of psychology against the strictures aimed at its early text book incarnations in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, Robert Young and others denigrated then standard textbook histories of psychology for their amateurism and their justifications propaganda for specific standpoints in current psychology, disguised as history. Since then, at least some textbooks writers and working historians of psychology have made such criticisms their own. The demand for textbook histories continues nonetheless. (...) Psychology, at least in the United States, remains the only discipline that makes historical representations of itself in the form of “history and systems” courses an official part of its pedagogical canon, required, interestingly enough, for the license in clinical practice.1In the meantime, the professionalization of scholarship in history of psychology has proceeded apace. All of the trends visible in historical and social studies of other sciences, as well as in general cultural and intellectual history, are noe present in the historical study of psychology. Yet despite the visibility and social importance of psychology's various applications, and the prominence of certain schools of psychological thought such as behaviorism and psychoanalysis in contemporary cultural and political debate, the historiography of psychology has continued to hold a marginal position in history and social studies of science. (shrink)
This is a review of a book that tries to re-establish mind-body dualism by using (a) empirical research on near-death experiences, placebo effects, creativity, claiming even that parapsychology should become a respected part of science, and (b) Frederic W. H. Myers' (1843-1901) metaphor of the brain as a kind of receiving device that records what the irreducible mind sends as messages. Among other things, we criticize the lack of philosophical clarity about mind-body relation, and question the book's tendency to refer (...) to past and current parapsychological literature as reliable. (shrink)
The article introduces a special section about history of science in Central and Eastern Europe before and after the fall of Communism, and sketches a conceptual framework within which the three papers in the section can be understood together. This introduction provides information about the workshop from which the papers were recruited, and continues with more general considerations on the nationalization of scientific knowledge in the territories of the Habsburg empire and its successor states. In the second half of the (...) introduction, themes addressed by all three papers in the special section are named and discussed briefly. (shrink)