By Arthur W. Staats, Leendert P. Mos
Facing the subject of Unification in Psychology.
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Extra resources for Annals of Theoretical Psychology (Volume 5)
In the natural sciences the impulse to proliferate novelty is counterbalanced by the impulse to decrease the growing number of elements by unification. When the latter impulse is absent, however, as it is in the disunified science, there is trouble. Without a philosophy to guide scientists toward parsimony and unity, and with only the guiding principle of the new and different to follow, distortion occurs. Let us use the previous example of Janet and Freud. Such examples are widespread (see Staats, 1983a), for in the science that recognizes only the new and the different every scientist wants to make his 1 • Unified Positivism: Philosophy for the Revolution to Unity 21 or her work appear as new and as different as possible.
Positivism produced a guiding framework that resulted in abundant productivity. But it did not provide a means of handling that productivity in a way that would make articulated, generally meaningful sense. Nor did the framework provide a foundation of interest for the problems of unification. So the deluge of knowledge has continued without respite, in ever increasing volume, without any means of channeling the flood. 1 • Unified Positivism: Philosophy for the Revolution to Unity 31 That circumstance itself creates a tension which has been described in many ways-as aimlessness and lack of direction, excessive diversity, the failure of positivism, the triviality of experimentation, the need for theoretical meaning, the failure of grand theorizing, the need to divide psychology.
Staats, 1983a, p. 35) The criticism of the logical positivist position that observation was the ultimate truth of science, objective, the basis for agreement, and the arbiter of 26 Arthur W. Staats controversy has been the foundation for the rejection of positivism in general and for the return to old subjectivist philosophies (Koch, 1981; van Hoorn, 1972; Weimer, 1979). The position taken here, however, removes the basis for this criticism. It says that observation is indeed basic to science and that experimentation is one of the refined developments of observation.
Annals of Theoretical Psychology (Volume 5) by Arthur W. Staats, Leendert P. Mos