The Game of Science and Puzzles of Paradigm

Abstract

Zagaria, Andó́ and Zennaro (in this issue) have offered that the discipline of psychology is fraught with conceptual chaos and a multiplicity of constructs. They have also assessed psychology to be a soft science, with much potential to be a hard science, should it allow itself to be unified by the principles offered by evolutionary psychology. With this approach, psychology would transition from its pre-paradigmatic to a paradigmatic status. In this commentary, we question their premise, method and conclusion, and finally submit that the preoccupation with paradigm is connected with a positivist view of scientific knowledge production. Psychological constructs are not ostensive in nature and cannot be treated as matter is in the hard sciences. This is neither possible, nor desirable. Additionally, such constructs are located in various theoretical perspectives, necessary to understand their multifaceted nature. We question the proposal of evolutionary psychology as an alternative meta-theory. Psychology is essentially a human endeavor, and we must step out of our need to follow the acultural Euro-American vision of positivist science, and instead build an enterprise that can be plural, contextually sensitive and incorporate the complexity and interdisciplinarity needed to be truly successful at approaching the human condition.

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Acknowledgements

Comments by Preeti Kapur, Parul Bansal, Kumar Ravipriya and Arvind K. Mishra on an earlier draft of the paper are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Girishwar Misra.

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Misra, G., Pirta, R.S., Misra, I. et al. The Game of Science and Puzzles of Paradigm. Integr. psych. behav. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12124-020-09563-y

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Keywords

  • Culture
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Future of psychology
  • Mind
  • Paradigm
  • Theory
  • Positivism