Toward a Psychology of Persons

Front Cover
William E. Smythe
L. Erlbaum, 1998 - Psychology - 289 pages
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This closely integrated collection of essays constitutes a wide-ranging and comprehensive attempt to understand persons within psychology--a long-lost enterprise. The volume was inspired by the observation that contemporary psychology has become increasingly depersonalized in its conceptions and its methodology, and has thereby lost touch with its traditional subject matter of human individuality and the nature of persons. This development now threatens the integrity of psychology as a discipline. Using both a critical and constructive approach, the various contributors share two common objectives:
*to explore the roots of depersonalization in modern psychology through systematic criticism of contemporary functionalist and neo-functionalist approaches;
*to articulate some alternative holistic-interpretive and historical approaches to the psychology of persons. Despite these common objectives, the chapters reflect a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and approaches, including cognitive science and neuroscience, discursive psychology, hermeneutics, social constructionism, semiotics, rhetorical analysis, and psychological aesthetics. These essays do not converge on a unified psychology of persons, but they do serve to reopen a form of discourse that has long been absent from mainstream psychology.

This volume emerged from the deliberations of the Western Canadian Theoretical Psychologists (WCTP)--a group of scholars primarily from Western Canadian universities with shared interests in the history and theory of psychology. From its founding in 1989 to the present, the WCTP has been actively engaged in promoting and contributing to the development of theoretical psychology. Over the past half dozen years, scholars have greatly benefitted from the close collaboration and collegial support that participation in the WCTP makes possible. The annual meetings provide an opportunity for them to catch up on each other's work and also to pool their expertise to work on topics of shared interest.

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