On Hijacking Science : Exploring the Nature and Consequences of Overreach in Psychology book cover
1st Edition

On Hijacking Science
Exploring the Nature and Consequences of Overreach in Psychology

ISBN 9780367856144
Published October 17, 2019 by Routledge
144 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines the origins, presence, and implications of scientistic thinking in psychology. Scientism embodies the claim that only knowledge attained by means of natural scientific methods counts as valid and valuable. This perspective increasingly dominates thinking and practice in psychology and is seldom acknowledged as anything other than standard scientific practice. This book seeks to make this intellectual movement explicit and to detail the very real limits in both role and reach of science in psychology. The critical chapters in this volume present an alternative perspective to the scholarly mainstreams of the discipline and will be of value to scholars and students interested in the scientific status and the philosophical bases of psychology as a discipline.

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword

Brent D. Slife

Foreword A Science of Psychology

Daniel N. Robinson

Introduction Science, Scientism, Psychology, and Psychologism

Richard N. Williams and Edwin E. Gantt

Chapter 1 Epistemology and the Boundaries between Phenomena and Conventions

Daniel N. Robinson

Chapter 2 Hayek and Hempel on the Nature, Role, and Limitations of Science

Richard N. Williams

Chapter 3 On Scientism in Psychology:  Some Observations of Historical Relevance

James T. Lamiell

Chapter 4 Why Science Needs Intuition

Lisa M. Osbeck

Chapter 5 Scientism and Saturation: Evolutionary Psychology, Human Experience, and the

Phenomenology of Jean-Luc Marion

Edwin E. Gantt

Chapter 6 Psychotherapy and Scientism

Brent D. Slife, Eric A. Ghelfi, and Sheilagh T. Fox

Chapter 7 Science and Society:  Effects, Reactions, and a Call for Reformation

Jeffrey S. Reber

Chapter 8 Beyond Scientism:  Reaches in Psychology Toward a Science of Consciousness

Frederick J. Wertz

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Edwin E. Gantt is Associate Professor of Psychology, Brigham Young University. He has formal training in phenomenology and hermeneutics, and has published broadly in the theory and philosophy of psychology.

Richard N. Williams is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Wheatley Institution, Brigham Young University. He has published on topics related to scientism, human agency, and theoretical psychology.


‘Gantt and Williams's edited volume brings together a stellar cast of contributors, all of whom seek to show, in their own distinctive ways, that the reigning, largely "scientistic," view of psychological inquiry is but one view among many possible ones. By alerting us to the parochial nature of the dominant view, they pave the way toward fashioning not only a broader, more inclusive perspective on what psychological inquiry might be but a vastly expanded, more humanly adequate, vision of the discipline itself.’ —Mark Freeman, Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society, College of the Holy Cross, USA

'Kierkegaard once criticized theology for selling off its authority in order to buy stock in "rationality" from the philosophers. "Theology sits rouged at the window," he mocked, "and courts philosophy's favor, offering to sell her charms to it." One could worry psychology has done the same: it has sold off the soul in order to purchase a claim to "science." This volume is a careful, thoughtful challenge to such reductionism, offered for the sake of both science and psychology.' James K.A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College, USA