Types of scientific rationality in psychology: A critique of approaches

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The article critically analyses concepts implying the differentiation of «types of scientific rationality» in psychology. It is shown that VS. Stepin's criteria for distinguishing classical, non-classical and post-non-classical rationality are not suitable for describing the development of psychological science. First, it always studied complex systems. Secondly, there are no three stages of changing ideals and norms of research in psychology. Thirdly, the field of reflection of psychology has always included not only the object, but also the means of knowledge and the subject. The differentiation of four types of rationality in accordance with scientific revolutions also does not work in psychology: (a) it does not meet the criteria of V.S Stepin; (b) it is not clear what relation the scientific revolutions have to psychological science; (c) there is no consensus on how much such scientific revolutions have ever occurred. Modification of the initial model that suggests the extraction of humanitarian rationality by replacing the object by "another subject" in a scientific scheme of V.S. Stepin jeopardizes the scientific nature of the rationality such obtained and does not improve the model's correspondence to historical facts. Three-termed scheme "thesis - antithesis - synthesis" ("syncret - differentiation - synthesis") also does not allow to reflect the real development of psychology in general and psychological schools in particular. Common problems of such interpretations have been singled out in the article. They are connected with the deliberate simplification of the psychological theories of the past and ignoring the question of the scientific nature of certain psychological schools. In conclusion, it is suggested that the idea of types of rationality and their evolution is ill-suited to describe the development of science, and post-nonclassical psychology is a pseudoscientific and counter-revolutionary project that brings psychology back into the embrace of idealistic philosophy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-99
Number of pages12
JournalVoprosy Psikhologii
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Classics
  • History of psychology
  • Non-classics
  • Philosophy of science
  • Post-nonclassics
  • Scientific revolution
  • Types of scientific rationality
  • types of scientific rationality
  • philosophy of science
  • classics
  • post-nonclassics
  • history of psychology
  • scientific revolution
  • non-classics



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