An Historical Turn for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology

  • Jeff SugarmanEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the Theory and History of Psychology book series (PSTHP)


Theoretical and philosophical psychologists have made tremendous strides in bringing philosophy and critique to bear on psychological understanding. This chapter draws attention to a vein of work that supplements philosophical and critical analyses with studies of historical particularities in which the assumptions, aspirations, and strategies of psychologists take shape. By illuminating the conduct of psychology in the context of historically situated research programs and practices, this vein of work brings added clarity, force, and relevance to purely philosophical and critical analyses. Informing arguments evidentially with history and thick descriptions of concrete particulars can help make what theoretical and philosophical psychologists have to say more convincing. To illustrate, psychologism is presented as a style of reasoning that has dominated psychology and set the agenda for what counts as psychological phenomena and how they are to be investigated and understood. The chapter begins by defining styles of reasoning and their characteristics. Psychologism is then proposed as a style of reasoning, its assumptions are explained, and particularities of its procedure are described that create a possibility in which psychological properties are made intelligible and achieve ontological status. This is followed by an illustration using the research of attitudes.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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