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Epistemology of Psychology 2017/2018

  • 6 ECTS
  • Taught in Portuguese
  • Continuous Assessment

Objectives

-Acquire theoretical and historical knowledge in general Epistemology and, specifically, in Epistemology of Social Sciences and Psychology, to characterize and accurately differentiate the paradigm of Experimental Modern Science, including its historical evolution, leading to development and crisis of Positivism;
-Recognize and critically reflect on the complex and problematic relationship between "knowledge", "power" and "action" in Psychology as Science and Profession, by articulating epistemology, politics and ethics of psychology, particularly in the light of criticism of psychological discourse and practice, according to Critical Theory, Post-structuralism and Sociology of Science;
-Analyze and evaluate the impact of the onto-epistemological and methodological pluralism in psychology, namely between "explanation" and "understanding", Natural Sciences and Social Sciences (or Culture Sciences and Humanities).

Recommended Prerequisites

Students should have gained knowledge on the history of psychology and research methods, as well as on the notions of pluralism concerning the object(s) and method(s) in Psychology. This background will prove to be useful in order to deal with the concept of "paradigm" and to engage in the questioning and critical assessment of psychological discourses and practices.

Teaching Metodology

-Lecturing, participatory method (with group discussion / reflection), and active methods with regular, individual and group assignments, consisting of reading reports, writing and oral discussion of selected texts and authors. The multiple reading reports must lead to an in-depth research project on an epistemological specific issue. The assessment of learning comprises: 1. a written quiz; 2. several written reports; and 3) a theoretical research assignment with both a written and oral component.

Body of Work

1. Introduction to Gnoseology and Epistemology: key issues
2.Psychology as Modern Experimental Science
2.1.The Cartesian rationalism and British empiricism
2.2.Newtonian physics, psychophysics and Kantian pure Reason
2.3.Positivism(s): The positivist philosophy of Comte and the Vienna Circle
2.4.Popper, Wittgenstein and the critique of logical positivism
2.5.Bachelard on the "scientific spirit"
3.Psychology in the era of "Postmodern Science"
3.1.Kuhn: paradigms and revolutionary history of science
3.2.Feyerabend: Critique against Reason and Method
3.3.Lakatos on "research programs"
3.4.Critical theory of science and psychology: the Frankfurt School
3.5.Poststructuralism: Foucault and Derrida
3.6.Sociology of Science: Manheim, Merton and Latour
4.Psychology and its ontological, epistemological and methodological pluralism
4.1.Nomothetic/explanatory and idiographic/hermeneutic Psychology
4.2.Psychology: naturalism, historicism and ethico-political responsibility

Recommended Bibliography

Bachelard, G. (2006). A epistemologia. Lisboa: Ed. 70.
Foucault, M. (1991). As palavras e as coisas: Uma arqueologia das ciências humanas. Lisboa: Edições 70.
Foucault, M. (1997). A ordem do discurso. Lisboa: Relógio d’Água.
Foucault, M. (2005). A arqueologia do saber. R.Janeiro: Forense Univ.
Foucault, M. (2007). Vigiar e punir: o nascimento da prisão. Petrópolis: Vozes.
Habermas, J. (1990). O discurso filosófico da modernidade. Lisboa: D. Quixote.
Kant, E. (1989). Crítica da razão pura. Lisboa: Gulbenkian.
Kuhn, T. (2007). A estrutura das revoluções científicas. SP: Perspetiva.
Santos, B. S. (1993). Introdução a uma ciência pós-moderna. Porto: Afrontamento.
Santos, B. S. (2001). Um discurso sobre as ciências. Porto: Afrontamento.
Santos, B. S. (2003). Conhecimento prudente para uma vida decente. Porto: Afrontamento.
Sève, L. (1994). Para uma crítica da razão bioética. Lisboa: Piaget.
Silva, P. (1998). A filosofia da ciência de P. Feyerabend. Lisboa: Piaget.

Complementary Bibliography

Bachelard, G. (2008). O novo espírito científico. Lisboa: Ed. 70.
Cavaillé, J.-P. (1991). Descartes: a fábula do mundo. Lisboa: Inst. Piaget.
Chalier, C. (1996). Lévinas: a utopia do humano. Lisboa: Piaget.
Chandebois, R. (1996). Para acabar com o Darwinismo: uma nova lógica da vida. Lisboa: Piaget.
Comte, A. (1980). Catecismo positivista. Mem Martins: Publ. Europa-América.
Comte, A. (1990). Discurso sobre o espírito positivo. S. Paulo: Martins Fontes.
Foucault, M. (1994). História da sexualidade (2 vols.). Lisboa: Relógio d’Água.
Owen, D. (1994). Maturity and modernity: Nietzsche, Weber, Foucault, and the ambivalence of reason. London: Routledge.
Wittgenstein, L. (1991). Aulas e conversas sobre estética, psicologia e fé religiosa. Lisboa: Cotovia.
Benjamin, L. T. (Ed.) (2009). A history of psychology: original sources and contemporary research. Oxford: Blackwell.
Goodwin, C. J. (2010). História da Psicologia. SP: Cultrix.

Weekly Planning

1st.week:
Introduction to Gnoseology and Epistemology: key issues
Psychology as Modern Experimental Science

2nd. week:
The Cartesian rationalism and British empiricism
Newtonian physics, psychophysics and Kantian pure Reason

3rd. week:
The positivism(s): The positivist philosophy of Comte and the Vienna Circle

4th. week:
Popper, Wittgenstein and the critique of logical positivism

5th. week:
Bachelard on the "scientific spirit"

6th. week:
Psychology in the era of "Postmodern Science"
Kuhn: paradigms and revolutionary history of science

7th. week:
Feyerabend: Critique against Reason and Method
Lakatos on "research programs"

8th. week:
critical theory of science and psychology: Frankfurt School

9th. week:
Poststructuralism: Derrida and Foucault

10th. week:
Sociology of Science: Manheim, Merton and Latour

11th. week:
Psychology and its ontological, epistemological and methodological dualism (Dilthey)

12th week:
Nomothetic/explanatory vs. idiographic/hermeneutic Psychology

13th week:
Psychology: eco-feminism and ethico-political responsibility

14th and 15th week:
Presentation and discussion of research projects carried out by students.

Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The first learning outcome aims at the acquisition of theoretical and historical knowledge on Epistemology, so that students can characterize and accurately differentiate the paradigm of Modern Experimental Science (2.1-2.5 syllabus) and "Post-modern Science" (3.1-3.3 syllabus), being able to understand the metamorphoses of positivism and its crisis, always taking psychology as their object of analysis.
The second objective of this CU is to recognize and critically reflect on the relationships between "knowledge", "power" and "action" in Psychology in the light of a critique of psychological discourses and practices, according to Critical Theory, Poststructuralism, and Sociology of Science, which are the subject of paragraphs 3.4-3.6 from the Syllabus.
Finally, the third objective, which involves the training of (meta)analysis and (meta)assessment skills on the impact of ontological, epistemological, and methodological pluralism in psychology, is attained through points 4.1-4.2.

Demonstration of the teaching methodologies coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

Through the lecturing, participatory method, student can acquire knowledge on the principal authors and theories related to the construction of scientific knowledge (the fundamentals on the Epistemology and historical trajectory of formation, development and crisis of Modern Science). It is also intended that through the regular assignments requiring reflection, discussion, reading, and writing, students be able to develop a critical, questioning, reflective stance on the construction of scientific knowledge, in particular that of psychological knowledge. Through the in-depth, research assignment, students should have the opportunity of training higher-order skills, namely those of meta-analysis and meta-evaluation of paradigms - with their relations of opposition and composition - which shape the process of formation and transformation of theoretical constructs and intervention practices in Psychology.

relevant generic skillimproved?assessed?
Achieving practical application of theoretical knowledgeYesYes
Analytical and synthetic skillsYesYes
Commitment to qualityYesYes
Foreign language proficiency  
Information and learning managementYesYes
IT and technology proficiency  
Problem Analysis and AssessmentYesYes
Research skillsYesYes
Self-assessmentYesYes
TeamworkYesYes
Written and verbal communications skillsYesYes
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