Beyond Individual and Group Differences: Human Individuality, Scientific Psychology, and William Stern's Critical Personalism

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SAGE, Jul 2, 2003 - Psychology - 331 pages
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This book treats the history of psychology's effort to come to terms with human individuality, from the time of Wundt to the present day, with primary emphasis on the contributions of German psychologist William Stern. With this book, Lamiell hopes to waken a wider appreciation for Stern's perspective on human individuality and for the proper place of personalitic thinking within scientific psychology. He presents an alternative approach to the logical positivism that permeates traditional psychological thought and methodology. As such, he provides a book that is sure to prove both controversial and ground-breaking.


Provides book-length treatment of the concept of human individuality in twentieth century scientific psychology, highlighting the historical contributions made by the German psychologist and philosopher William Stern (1871-1938).

Critically appraises contemporary thinking about personality in light of historical and methodological considerations.

Challenges readers to re-think the problem of human individuality with research that mounts a direct empirical challenge to the long-standing belief that it is meaningless to characterize individuals without comparing them to one another.

Concludes with a general discussion of the potential of personlistic thinking both as a foundation for personality theory and as a framework for social thought.


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A Lost Star
The Problem of Individuality
The Narrowing of Perspective in the Proliferation
The Entrenchment of a Common Trait
The Emergence of a NeoGaltonian Framework
Contemporary Nomotheticism Within
The Establishment of Contemporary
In Search of the Sources of Personality
Contemporary Nomotheticism in Critical Perspective
An Introduction to Critical Personalism
Some Models of Personalistic Inquiry
Persons Things
Author Index
About the Author

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About the author (2003)

James T. Lamiell (Ph.D., Kansas State University, 1976) is Professor of Psychology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where he has taught since 1982. Prior to that, he was on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A three-time Fulbright Senior Scholar to Germany, Lamiell spent his spring semester 2004 sabbatical at the University of Hamburg where, during their summer semester (April to July), he was Ernst Cassirer Visiting Professor. During that time, he taught a seminar in the Psychology Department and also delivered a series of public lectures on "William Stern: His Life and Works" under the auspices of the Philosophy Department. He has held guest professorships at the University of Heidelberg (1990) and the University of Leipzig (1998). He is author of The Psychology of Personality: An Epistemological Inquiry (1987) and translator of Clara and William Stern's 1909 monograph Erinnerung, Aussage und Luge in der ersten Kindheit, published in English as Recollection, Testimony, and Lying in Early Childhood (1999). His numerous scholarly publications have primarily to do with theoretical and philosophical issues in the psychology of personality, and he has lectured on these topics at many universities in both the U.S. and Europe. Lamiell has served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Personality and the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. He was elected Fellow of APA Division 1 (General Psychology) in 1987 and Division 24 (Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology) in 1988. He was the honored recipient of the Psi Chi Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Illinois in 1979 and of the Edward B. Bunn Award for Faculty Excellence at Georgetown University in 2001. In his spare time, Lamiell enjoys picking bluegrass banjo and long-distance bicycle touring.

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