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Contextualism in Psychological Research?: a Critical Review

by Capaldi E and Proctor R SAGE Publications, Inc
Pub Date:
Pbk 208 pages
AU$137.00 NZ$138.26
Product Status: Title is Print on Demand - May take 4 weeks
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''Contextualism, in my view, will be the major theoretical issue in psychology (as well as in the social sciences generally) in the first quarter of the next century. The authors have written the best general account of the issues at stake, and it is my guess that this will be the most important and perhaps the best-selling item in your list for some years. I say this even though I am one of those dreadful contextualist excoriated by the authors.''  --James E. Deese, University of Virginia''I admit I was a bit reluctant to tackle this one having looked at a lot of the subject in two tries at a Philosophy of Psychology course. I was pleased way beyond my expectations, and I am thoroughly envious of what +óÔé¼-£they` have done. It is a wonderful book and should be on the +óÔé¼-£must read` list of all psychologists, especially those new to or just entering psychology.''  --David C. Edwards, Iowa State University''It is written in a remarkably lucid and articulate manner, particularly considering the abstract, erudite, indeed even esoteric and abstruse topic to which it is addressed.''  --Michael Wertheimer, University of Colorado, Boulder ''This book will give you the grounds for comparing and evaluating the claims of the several alternative +óÔé¼-£postmodern` psychologies that have appeared in recent years. It will show you their varieties, their grounds for disagreement with mainstream psychology, and the adequacy of their claims and complaints. Along the way it will instruct you in some modern perspectives on what makes up an adequate philosophy of science.''  --David C. Edwards, Iowa State UniversityContextualism is a major growing movement that sees itself in opposition to the currently dominant approach in psychology, which it characterizes as mechanism. Contextualism is a variety of pragmatism that endorses radical empiricism and is closely related to a variety of other relativistic movements, such as social constructionism. This book identifies two distinct contextualist camps and asks whether either form of contextualism provides a satisfactory basis for the conduct of empirical and theoretical psychology. The two varieties of contextualism are contrasted with the authors` own conception of the philosophy of science, which is freely adopted from Larry Laudan. This conception provides a much more up-to-date and better basis than contextualism for the conduct of research and theory in psychology. The book describes methodological changes in contextualism that will have to occur if its impact on psychology is to increase.

Its Definition, Origins, Current Manifestations and Allies
Philosophy of Science and Psychology
The Metaphilosophy of Stephen Pepper
Philosophic Contextualism and Modified Contextualism Described
Philosophic Contextualism and Academic Psychology
A Comparison and Evaluation
Developmental Contextualism and Academic Psychology
A Comparison and Evaluation
Functional Contextualism and Academic Psychology
A Comparison and Evaluation
Are Mainstream Psychology and the Various Contextualisms in Competition, and Should They Be?
Underdetermination, Incommensurability and Relativism
Downplaying Ontology

Robert Proctor is Professor of Psychology at Purdue University at West Lafayette. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1975. Dr. Proctor has been teaching and conducting research in the field of attention and human performance for nearly 30 years. He conducts research on basic and applied aspects of human performance, with an emphasis on stimulus-response compatibility effects and the relation between perception and action. Dr. Proctor is member of several journal editorial boards. He has co-authored four books and co-edited two. Attention: Theory and Practice is his second book with Dr. Addie Johnson; the first, Skill Acquisition and Human Performance , was published by Sage in 1995. Together, these two authors brought an integrated perspective and broad experience to bear in crafting this book. Dr. Proctor is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society and an honorary fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.