On the Imaginary Methodological Crisis in Psychology...

On the imaginary methodological crisis in psychology

Psychology like any other branch of science faces in its development with considerable difficulties. Their systematic study just suggests the need for metapsychology, the final characteristic of which is the subject of this section.

Emphasizing the need for metapsychology, it is reasonable to refer to the problem of the crisis in psychology, which is discussed throughout the development of psychology as a science. There is not a single branch of science in which its own crisis is spoken about as often and often as in psychology.

Historical excursion

In the 1890's. the French psychologists P. Bourget and M. Blondel interpreted the crisis in psychology as the dominance of positivism. In the same vein reflected and N. Korostelev, who marked the crisis of experimental psychology.

In 1925, the German psychologist H. Driesch saw the crisis in the mechanists' misunderstanding from the psychology of the soul and entelechy.

Drish's approach, in particular his vitalism, was criticized in 1920-1930. Gestalt artists K. Koffka and V. Köhler. They believed that the way out of the crisis is Gestalt psychology.

In 1927 the German psychologist K. Bühler in the book "The crisis in psychology" outlined the way to overcome it by including in the psychology of the topic of language as the doctrine of signs.

In 1926-1927 years. L.S. Vygotsky created a voluminous manuscript "Historical meaning of the crisis in psychology."

About the crisis in psychology, perhaps most thoroughly, in an acute polemical form with an emphasis on methodological issues, Vygotsky wrote. He pointed to the following symptoms of the crisis in psychology:

• There is no unity due to the struggle of different directions;

• there is no unity in the original principles;

• there is no universally recognized system of sciences;

• there is no exact terminology (mainly terms from philosophy, natural sciences and everyday language are used);

• the question of the initial abstraction of psychology as a science is not developed;

• the dominance of eclecticism is present;

• there was a forgetfulness of philosophy and methodology.

According to AV Yurevich, the symptoms of the crisis in psychology, indicated by William James and Vygotsky, "do not differ from current estimates". He also noted the "lack of progress in their removal". With the latest assessment, we strongly disagree. In the meantime, let us cite some judgments of contemporary authors who appear to us to be indicative as evidence in favor of the need for metapsychology.

So, VM Rozin draws beyond scientific knowledge. He notes that the values ​​of humanistic psychology "develop not so much as science, but as wisdom, experience, philosophical and psychological studies". AA Bubbles emphasizes criticism of practical reason in modern psychology, which, in his opinion, can not in any way become a psychology of spiritual experience, a person with a capital letter. BS Bratus declares that it is time to take the "step: from myth to culture, from the psychology of the peacekeeping to the psychology of the cultural, and since we live in a Christian culture, then to the psychology of the Christian". SM Morozov, who is dissatisfied with the natural science paradigm, suggests "the reorientation of science from the sensory-experimental paradigm to the hermeneutic-phenomenological methodology of the study of the subject." IA Mironenko believes that the crisis of psychology was completed in the 1980s: "The state of the world of psychological science ... characterized by a pronounced tendency towards integration. The world becomes one. "

In our opinion, the seven symptoms indicated by Vygotsky, supplemented by the five judgments of the authors indicated in the previous paragraph, indicate a lack of development of metapsychology. Until psychologists begin to systematically develop metapsychology, they will not be able to repeat the feat of Wittgenstein's fly, who managed to get out of the flytrap. Consider the above arguments.

1. They say that there is no unity in psychology. What kind of unity is it? If it is a monotheorean one, it should be firmly set aside. As for polytheoretics, it needs to be understood. In our opinion, this problem is solved through the construction of a problem and interpretation series of theories.

2. There is no unity in the basic principles. This unity is observed within the framework of individual psychological directions, and more is not required. Psychological directions themselves are also combined into a problematic and critically interpretative series.

3. There is no universally accepted system of sciences. A doubtful argument. In existing classifications of sciences, psychology is always recognized as an independent branch of science.

4. There is no exact terminology. And with this statement it is difficult to agree. Psychologists define the values ​​of variables that are absent in other sciences. This alone points to the involuntary psychological terminology.

5. The question of the initial abstraction is not developed. In fact, the theory does not begin with an initial abstraction, but with principles. They are present in any psychological science. True to the intratheoretical scientific method of psychology, in spite of LS Vygotsky's opinion, is not the ascent from the abstract to the concrete, but the conceptual transduction.

6. There is a dominance of eclecticism. This statement can be called unnecessarily harsh. Outstanding psychologists hardly deserve accusations of eclecticism. About him argue those authors who do not cope with the pluralism of psychological theories.

7. It happened, as Vygotsky believed, the oblivion of philosophy and methodology. In our opinion, there is insufficient attention to metapsychology.

8. Strange are the attempts of VM Rozin, AA Puzyrei and BS Bratus, discussing the fate of psychology as a science, bringing it beyond science. Scientific psychology does not need to get rid of science. There is no such knowledge, which in its scientific status would be higher than scientific psychology.

9. SM Morozov, proposing to turn to hermeneutics and phenomenology, is partly right, but obviously does not take into account, first, the well-known detachment of these philosophical trends from science, and secondly - the achievements of other philosophical trends, in particular analytical philosophy.

10. IA Mironenko, proclaiming the unity of psychology, ignores the characteristic for her pluralism.

Thus, we believe that it can be argued that there is no crisis in psychology. It is reasonable to speak of its presence only when the theory ceases to "work" if the congestion in the path of the movement of psychological concepts is so great that they freeze. But it is not. Another thing is that in psychology there is a peculiar syndrome of antimetanality. It is not fatal, because with due attention to metapsychology is successfully overcome.


1. Psychology is encountered in its development with considerable difficulties, for the overcoming of which it is necessary to develop metapsychology in every possible way.

2. The difficulties of psychology are not fatal, a program for overcoming them is known.

3. According to the author, the theory of conceptual transitions is crucial in this connection.

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