January 2, 2011
I had a busy December, highlighted by completing a draft article that will appear in a Chinese language journal and traveling to Serbia (whichI will write about in another post).
The article, “Critical Psychology, Philosophy and Social Therapy,” will appear in the Register of Social Critical Theories, which comes out of the Center for Studies of Marxist Social Theory at Nanjing University. Here’s how I began it:
You cannot lead people to what is good; you can only lead them to some place or other. The good is outside the space of facts. Ludwig Wittgenstein (Culture and Value, 1980, p. 3e)
Seen from the vantage point of the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the remarkable development of psychology in the US as a discipline, institution and industry came with relatively little opposition. In its beginnings, from the end of the 19th century through the 1920s, psychology’s object of study and methods of investigations had not yet hardened in the mold of the natural sciences. Both philosophy and aesthetics were part of the debate about what psychology is among the early academics and researchers (who included the philosophers James Mark Baldwin, John Dewey, William James and George Herbert Mead), but such openness did not last very long, and from the 1920s psychology sold itself as a science. Attempts to challenge the model, particularly by psychoanalysts and humanists, resulted in their objects of study (i.e., the subjective, social-relational and cultural) being incorporated into mainstream psychology rather than transforming its overall methodology. Yet critics of mainstream psychology endure and, as American psychology is increasingly exported across the globe, it becomes more important than ever that alternative and challenging views not only proliferate, but gain an increasingly broad and international audience. While I cannot judge what contribution my remarks on critical psychology might make to this project, I hope that they lead people to “some other place.”
To read the full text, click on the article title (above).