Conceptual transduction in psychology - History, philosophy...

Conceptual transduction in psychology

Already in the first chapter (see paragraph 1.2), we considered the transition between concepts, which, in our opinion, is characteristic of any science. This is a conceptual transduction, which is implemented as a sequence of four "concepts", which are ways to manage concepts.

Psychology, widely held as a science, presumably also uses the method of conceptual transduction. It would be rather strange, if it were not so, but you can not rule out such an opportunity. In any case, one should expect that if it is not used, then it finds an effective alternative. Without conceptual transitions, psychological theory can not take place. Consequently, they must necessarily be the subject of careful analysis.

Guided by the described expectation, we are not without surprise discovered that in psychological texts of conceptual transduction, as a rule, is not given due attention. Alternative to it also does not register. Let's give an example, referring to the main psychological directions.

To begin with, let us recall the long-standing association for the status of the psychological direction. In accordance with his attitudes, impressions seem to be threaded on each other. We will not continue to consider this process - the psychological community, in fact, abandoned the method of associations.

Within the framework of Freudianism, the emphasis is on determining unconscious neuroses, after isolating the sources of which, the unconscious itself loses its power and, therefore, no longer exists. As you can see, a rather strange method of reasoning is used here. There is no clear reference to concepts at all. When considering the relationship unconscious neurosis a causal relationship is used. The correlation critical analysis of the neurosis elimination of the unconscious appears as the abolition of the previously postulated causal relationship. It is the result of misunderstanding. In conceptual terms something turns out rather confusing. Without fear of making mistakes, we can safely say that psychoanalysts failed to present a method of conceptual reasoning that is authoritative for the psychological community.

Considerably more authoritative are the views of behaviorists. The reasoning of the outstanding non-scientist K. Hull is indicative: "The main task of science is the derivation of laws that would as far as possible approximate to general laws. The methods by which this problem is successfully solved can be divided into empirical and theoretical ... Ideally, the scientific theory is a hierarchy of logically derived positions corresponding to the structure of empirically observed dependencies. " Said is not particularly accurate. Nevertheless, the problem of managing concepts is put quite specifically. We also recognize the derivation of regularities (this is obviously induction), and the obtaining of empirical data (ie adduction), and deduction (and why laws are necessary, as not for deduction). There is no, perhaps, only an abduction.

We point out some of the shortcomings of the statements of K. Hall. The main task of psychology is not the derivation of regularities, but the successful implementation of a full-scale conceptual transduction, within which regularities appear. They are accepted as they are.

It is not necessary that laws should be as general as possible. Empirical methods are also theoretical, so it is not right to oppose them to each other. Inconsistently insist on the logical derivation of theories. Logic is an independent science. Speech, obviously, is about inductive inference. Its result is conclusions that really need to be coherent empirical evidence. But the solution of the problems of science is not limited to this coherence. It is also necessary to pass successfully the stages of abduction and deduction. So, K. Hull can be safely enrolled in the ranks of supporters of conceptual transduction. To a much lesser extent such advocates of activity-oriented and cultural-historical psychology deserve such admission, focusing on the research of K. Marx.

Very important in this respect is the position of VS Vygotsky, who, like no other of the followers of Marx, paid close attention to the scientific method. Fascinated by the method of ascension from the abstract to the concrete in the interpretation of Karl Marx, he believed that the fundamental concept, so to speak, the primary abstraction underlying science, not only determines the content, but also predetermines the nature of the unity of individual disciplines, and through this - way of explaining facts, the main explanatory principle of science. " In Marx's political economy, such an abstraction is a commodity. Vygotsky also wanted to develop the theory, starting with some conceptual atom. And he seems to have discovered it. They, as explained in paragraph 3.6, is a social (interpsychic) ​​situation. And then everything happens according to the patterns of dialectical logic: another contradiction is derived from one contradiction. This continues until the theoretician "bypasses" all the contradictions of those phenomena that he reproduces, starting from abstract (poor) contradictions to increasingly specific developments.

Alas, the theory begins with principles, and not with extremely depleted abstractions. In Marx's political economy, the decisive factor is not the commodity, but the principle of maximizing the rate of surplus value for advanced capital. If a psychologist-defectologist works with children, he seeks to provide them with the greatest possible assistance. This is the principle of its action, which is concretized in accordance with their ailments. LS Vygotsky himself repeatedly, and with great enthusiasm, implemented this principle.

Here we can not help turning to the sad pages of United States history. The study of K. Marx's art developed in our country in a complex ideological situation. Stalin established in science something like the cult of Lenin. However, the scientists knew that Lenin's praise should be "with the mind", so that Stalin's superiority over Lenin, and even more so over Marx, was understandable. This continued until his death. Only in the late 1950's. the researchers were given the opportunity to intensify their studies of the works of K. Marx. And then the philosophers and political economists found that subject for in-depth study, which 30 years ago the psychologist LS Vygotsky discovered. It is just about the method of ascent from the abstract to the concrete. He began to be characterized in the most enthusiastic tones. Numerous supporters of the materialistically understood dialectical logic of K. Marx thought that they had discovered a truly genuine scientific method. He knew little about the method of conceptual transduction, except that there are rather superficial ideas about logical deduction and induction. Nevertheless, they were sure that there is nothing better in the field of scientific methodology than the method of ascent from the abstract to the concrete.

But is this method really an alternative to conceptual transduction? Of course not. Science is strong not by contradictions, but by principles and laws. Contradictions in science consistently get out. Thus, both activity-oriented and cultural-historical psychology, having refused, in fact, from conceptual transduction, went the wrong way.

Let's consider two more psychological directions: humanistic and cognitive psychology.

In humanistic psychology, based on the creative legacy of phenomenology and existentialism, there is no clear methodological emphasis. There is no conceptual transduction, no worthy alternative to it.

Finally, let's turn to cognitive psychology. In methodological terms, it is the heir of behaviorism. Experiment, laws and their use for prediction - all this is in it. In other words, there is both adduction (experiment), and induction (the derivation of laws from the results of experiments), and deduction (using laws to predict possible experimental results). To put it somewhat loosely, we can say that cognitivists use the method of conceptual transduction by three quarters. Nevertheless, in the manuals on cognitive philosophy, we did not find a single statement of the relevance of the method of conceptual transduction. The foregoing allows us to assert that psychologists have not yet realized this urgency.

But the situation is not hopeless. This is evidenced by the work of KE Stanovitch "How to judge reliably about psychology". It is about consistency: theory - prediction of facts - verification through experiment - modification of theory. The Canadian psychologist speaks on behalf of operationalism and believes that in psychology the ideal of consistent empiricism is quite consistent. As for the sequence pointed out by Stanovich, then in her theory the meaning of nothing but the complication of the scientific method is vainly given, which gets a continuation in the experiment. He, too, is theoretical and, therefore, is part of the theory. By and large, KE Stanovic is right, for he almost exactly expressed the essence of conceptual transduction. Nevertheless, his position was subjected to rather harsh criticism, which is of interest for the matter of understanding the specifics of psychology as a science. Sharply opposing the narrow and mechanistic understanding of the scientific method of psychology, three authors proposed the profile of the epistemic psychological triangle (facts, theories, concepts), arguing that there is no proper balance between its three vertices, namely, the empirical approach predominates, and conceptual analysis is not given due consideration attention. Who is right, K. E. Stanovic or his critics?

First of all, we note that in epistemology we operate with concepts of four types: variables (hypothetical and factual), things (objects, eidos and names), laws and principles. Facts apply to variables. The theory covers all the concepts. The juxtaposition of conceptual analysis to theories is rather strange. But, someone who is familiar with the analytical tradition, certainly knows that many of her supporters are very critical of theories. Thus, the epistemic triangle is untenable. Facts are theoretical, theories are factual, concepts are both theoretical and conceptual. There are no three separate vertices, but there are four types of conceptual transduction: deduction, adduction, induction and abduction. If desired, they can be called an epistemological square.

Critics of KE Stanovich are dissatisfied with him insofar as he does not notice the numerous difficulties of the process of cognition, which is not an algorithm. It happens that the theory simply "does not work". And then, according to A. Machado, O. Lorenzo and F. Silva, the turn of the conceptual analysis comes. It is really relevant, but the point is that the conceptual analysis is carried out not inside the theory, but inside it. Having a conceptual character, it should not be opposed to theory. Nevertheless, the concerns of the three authors do have some basis. KE Stanovitch, without entering into the problematic subtleties of scientific research, presents the scientific method in a greatly simplified form. The way out of the difficult situation of his criticism was seen in the postulation of an alternative to the theory-facts. In fact, it would be necessary to point out the need for metascientific analysis. It is this circumstance, in our opinion, that did not fall in the field of attention of K. Stanovich and his critics.


1. The scientific method of psychology is conceptual transduction.

2. Unfortunately, this circumstance has not yet been fully realized.

3. Alternatives to the conceptual transduction method could not be found in any of the psychological directions.

thematic pictures

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)