Genetic epistemology analyzes the growth of knowledge both in the individual person (genetic psychology) and in the socio-historical realm (the history of science). But what the relationship is between the history of science and genetic psychology remains unclear. The biogenetic law that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny is inadequate as a characterization of the relation. A critical examination of Piaget's Introduction à l'Épistémologie Généntique indicates these are several examples of what I call stage laws common to both areas. Furthermore, there is at (...) least one example of a paradoxical inverse relation between the two — geometry. Both similarities and differences between the two domains require an explanation, a developmental explanation. Although such an explanation seems to be psychological in nature, it is not merely empirical but also normative (since psychology is both factual and normative according to Piaget). Hence genetic epistemology need not be reduced to psychology (narrowly conceived), but rather should be seen as being both empirical and normative and thus similar to certain types of contemporary philosophy of science. (shrink)
Several philosophers have questioned the possibility of a genetic epistemology, an epistemology concerned with the developmental transitions between successive states of knowledge in the individual person. Since most arguments against the possibility of a genetic epistemology crucially depend upon a sharp distinction between the genesis of an idea and its justification, I argue that current philosophy of science raises serious questions about the universal validity of this distinction. Then I discuss several senses of the genetic fallacy, indicating which sense of (...) ‘genesis’ is relevant to epistemology. Next I consider the objection that psychology is irrelevant to epistemology, and that since "genetic epistemology" is really psychology, "genetic epistemology" is irrelevant to a real epistemology. Finally, I take up the objection that nothing discovered in genetic psychology could be relevant to a genetic epistemology. These last two arguments are based upon what I claim to be a mistaken notion of the nature of psychology. Suitably interpreted, psychology can assist genetic epistemology precisely in the way that the history of science assists current philosonhv of science. *I owe considerable thanks to Jann Benson, Ken Freeman, Bernie Rollin and Ron Williams for their helpful discussions concerning many of the issues discussed in this paper. I also wish to thank David Hamlyn, John Heil, William Lycan, Harvey Siegel and an anonymous reviewer for their comments and suggestions. It goes without saying that none of these individuals (especially Hamlyn and Siegel) necessarily agree with me. An earlier version of this paper was read at Colorado State University where the audience's comments were beneficial. (shrink)
Although the theory of Jean Piaget is correctly characterized as genetic epistemology, its nature and scope remain unclear and controversial. An examination of Piaget's Introduction a l'epistemologie genetique indicates that Piaget relies heavily upon a model of comparative anatomy and, consequently, that genetic epistemology is about both the history of science and individual development. This biological model seems to be the basis for Piaget's view that the history of science can be seen as a (Kantian) history of scientific concepts whereas (...) psychogenetic development is a history of these very same concepts on the individual level. Finally, although there are passages indicating a different interpretation of the scope of genetic epistemology, I give several reasons for preferring the more liberal interpretation. (shrink)
Piaget's social psychology is not widely discussed among psychologists, partly because much of it is still contained in untranslated French works. In this article I summarize the main lines of Piaget's social psychology and briefly indicate its relation to current theories in social psychology. Rejecting both Durkheim's sociological holism and Tarde's individualism, Piaget advances a sociological relativism in which all social facts are reducible to social relations and these, in turn, are reducible to rules, values and signs. Piaget's theory of (...) social values takes the form of a social exchange theory characterized in an abstract logical way. Piaget claims social exchange requires normative principles of reciprocity and that individual social development results in such an equilibrium because rationality itself is social and based upon social cooperation. These views, in turn, derive from Piaget's orthogenetic views concerning the course of evolution: development can be characterized as an increase in equilibrium manifested both in individual action and in social interaction. (shrink)
ALTHOUGH the nature of scientific explanation has been a topic much discussed by philosophers of science, one type of scientific explanation has received scant attention. In several of the sciences one often encounters a developmental explanation, an attempt, according to Woodward, "to explain why a system is in a certain stage of development by reference to a developmental 'law' which describes an orderly sequence of stages which systems of that kind go through.".
Papers from a conference held at Colorado State Univ., Sept. 1986. Addresses such related topics as the nature of the mind, our place in society, and the nature of ethics. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
Although numerous aspects of Bertrand Russell's philosophical views have been discussed, his views about the nature of the mind and the place of psychology within modern science have received less attention. In particular, there has been little discussion of what I will call "Russell's flirtation with behaviorism." Although some individuals have mentioned this phase in Russell's philosophical career, they have not adequately situated it within Russell's changing philosophical views, in particular, his naturalistic epistemology. I briefly discuss this naturalistic epistemology and (...) the kind of behaviorism it resulted in. I also briefly compare it to the behaviorism of John Watson, which had a strong influence on Russell. Russell finally abandoned this extreme form of behaviorism because of its denial of mental images, which was crucial to Russell's philosophy of mind and his semantics. I suggest that even though Russell's flirtation with behaviorism came to an end, he continued to be committed to a naturalistic epistemology. If this is so, we need to reassess the views of Russell and their place in twentieth-century thought. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell is widely considered to be one of the founders of analytic philosophy, epistemology, and philosophy of science. Individuals have usually stressed his early philosophical contributions as seminal in this regards. But Russell also had another side–a naturalistic side–leading him towards a naturalistic epistemology and naturalistic philosophy of science of the type Quine later made famous. My goal is to provide an outline of Russell's naturalistic epistemology and the underlying philosophical motivations for such a move. After briefly presenting Russell's (...) conception of the nature of philosophy, I sketch his theory of philosophical method, which is a version of the method of analysis. This provides the underpinnings for a discussion of his Naturalistic Epistemology, which led him to adopt a version of a behavioristic epistemology. Although Russell vacillated on the question of the adequacy of such an account, it provided a major element in his later philosophical views. I suggest that we must reevaluate our conception of the history of analytic philosophy and, in particular, our understanding of Russell's place in the history of 20th century philosophy. (shrink)
According to the standard account, logical positivism was the philosophical foundation of psychological neo-behaviorism. Smith (1986) has questioned this interpretation, suggesting that neo-behaviorism drew its philosophical inspiration from a different tradition, one more in keeping with naturalistic epistemology. Smith does not deny, however, the traditional interpretation of the philosophy of logical positivism, which sets it apart from naturalistic epistemology. In this article I suggest (following recent historical scholarship) that a more careful reading of the leading figure of logical positivism, Rudolph (...) Carnap, shows an important naturalistic component in his philosophy. Hence, we must reevaluate our standard interpretation of the philosophy of logical positivism and its relation to psychological neo-behaviorism. (shrink)
In this article, I am concerned with the ethical foundations of behavior therapy, that is, with the normative ethics and the meta-ethics underlying behavior therapy. In particular, I am concerned with questions concerning the very possibility of providing an ethical justification for things done in the context of therapy. Because behavior therapists must be able to provide an ethical justification for various actions (if the need arises), certain meta-ethical views widely accepted by behavior therapists must be abandoned: in particular, one (...) must give up ethical subjectivism, ethical skepticism, and ethical relativism. An additional task is to show how it is possible to provide a nonsubjective, nonskeptical, and nonrelativistic moral justification for an ethical statement. Although this is a monumental task, I provide a rough sketch of such a model, one that is congenial to the value judgments underlying behavior therapy. (shrink)
The question, What is Folk Epistemology?, is a question receiving increasing attention, but one that still awaits a sustained answer. In the present work by Mikkel Gerken,1 1 we have a somewhat different question discussed: What should FE be?
This essential book provides a comprehensive explanation of the key topics and debates arising in the philosophy of psychology. In editors William O'Donohue and Richard Kitchener's thoughtful examination, philosophy and psychology converge on several themes of great importance such as the foundations of knowledge, the nature of science, rationality, behaviorism, cognitive science, folk psychology, neuropsychology, psychoanalysis, professionalism, and research ethics. The Philosophy of Psychology also provides an in-depth discussion of ethics in counseling and psychiatry while exploring the diverse topics listed (...) above. The internationally renowned group of contributors to this volume both stimulating and informative. The Philosophy of Psychology will be invaluable for students and academics in theories and systems in psychology, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, philosophy of the social sciences, philosophy of the mind, and related courses. (shrink)