What is the nature of social psychological science? What does a realist approach to human behaviour offer?
Originally published in 1991, this lucid introduction to the philosophy of social psychological science takes a new and original approach to the subject. The author repudiates traditional empiricist and hermeneutical accounts, advancing instead a realist philosophy of social psychological science that maintains objectivity while at the same time stressing the social dimensions of mind and action.
The author provides novel perspectives on the problems and potential of those sciences concerned with human behaviours that are constituted as meaningful actions by their social relational, and representational dimensions. He focuses in particular on the social identity of human actions and psychological states, on the objectivity of theoretical description and causal explanation, and on the role of experimentation. This approach, aimed at reconciling our scientific interest with our human intuitions, results in a richer conception of social psychological theory and phenomena than was found in most contemporary theoretical accounts.
A stimulating and thought-provoking text, this title will still be of special value to students and teachers of psychology, sociology, anthropology and philosophy.
Table of Contents
Preface. Introduction: Science and Scientism 1. Social Dimensions of Action 2. Social Dimensions of Mind 3. Causal Explanation 4. Theory and Observation 5. Experimentation 6. Accounting. Conclusion: The Social and the Relational. Epilogue. Notes. References. Name Index. Subject Index.