© 2017

Wittgenstein’s Philosophy in Psychology

Interpretations and Applications in Historical Context


Table of contents

About this book


This book highlights the importance of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s writings on psychology and psychological phenomena for the historical development of contemporary psychology. It presents an insightful assessment of the philosopher’s work, particularly his later writings, which draws on key interpretations that have informed our understanding of metapsychological and psychological issues.

Wittgenstein’s Philosophy in Psychology engages with both critics and followers of the philosopher’s work to demonstrate its enduring relevance to psychology today. Sullivan presents a novel examination of Wittgenstein’s later writings by providing historical detail about the uptake, understanding and use of Wittgenstein’s remarks and method in psychology and related areas of social science, examining persistent sources of conceptual confusion and showing how to apply his insights in investigations of collectives, social life, emotions, subjectivity, and development. In doing so, he reveals the value for psychologists in adopting a philosophical method of conceptual investigation to work through and become more reflexive about prominent theories, methods, therapies and practices in their respective, multiple fields and thereby create a resource for future theoretical, empirical and applied psychologists. This work will be of particular relevance to students and academics engaged in the history of psychology and to practitioners interested in understanding the continued importance of Wittgenstein’s work within the practices of psychology.


critical psychology Ludwig Wittgenstein Philosophy in Psychology philosophical exegesis Social Psychology theoretical psychology postmodernism mathematics and psychology Kuhnian paradigms in psychology ontology methodological pluralism Wittgenstein on objectivity Wittgensteinian criticisms of cognitive psychology “Theory of mind”

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Trust, Peace and Social RelationsCoventry UniversityCoventryUnited Kingdom

About the authors

​Gavin Brent Sullivan is a Reader in Social and Political Psychology at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, UK. He has been awarded Endeavour, Gerda Henkel and Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowships as well as funding from the British Council, NERC and ESRC in the UK.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Wittgenstein’s Philosophy in Psychology
  • Book Subtitle Interpretations and Applications in Historical Context
  • Authors Gavin Brent Sullivan
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in the Theory and History of Psychology
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in the Theory and History of Psychology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Behavioral Science and Psychology Behavioral Science and Psychology (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-45690-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-68764-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-45691-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXVI, 415
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Psychology
    Philosophy of Mind
    Critical Psychology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site