Score card on a "science"

[From Dag Forssell (2007.11.12.1615 PST)]

As I went to bed last night I perused the latest issue of the
magazine from The American Translators Association, The ATA Chronicle.

I found an article that gave me a hearty laugh. A review of
"Elsevier's Dictionary of Psychological Theories".

I have recreated it so the resultant pdf file is sharp and only 80 KB
instead of nearly 3 MB.

To me, the lack of an index in not the point of this review. What I
read into it is that a listing of 2,000 psychological theories,
running 679 pages, is in itself prima facie evidence that psychology
is made up of a huge number of what can best be described as crafts.
As a field of study psychology is made up of observations and
descriptions ad infinitum, with no scientific principles in sight.
That makes the whole enterprise words, words, words from beginning to
end, which would be OK if the subject matter was not of huge importance.

The world desperately needs a new approach to understanding behavior,
one that is based on scientific principles of the kind we have in the
physical sciences.

Anyhow, I take "Elsevier's Dictionary of Psychological Theories" to
be yet one more clear indication that when considering psychology,
"science" is not a label that should be used at all.

Best, Dag

PsychTheoryDictionary1.pdf (73.9 KB)

[From Bill Powers (2007.11.13.0119 MDT)]

Dag Forssell (2007.11.12.1615 PST) –

Thanks for that bit about the Dictionary. Two thousand theories! Is this
sort of a Dow Jones Average of psychology, which we should try to expand
without limit? Perhaps the idea is that we should have enough theories
that no psychologist has to be without his own. We shouldn’t be selfish;
just remember that in less fortunate areas of the world, there are
psychologists who go to bed at night without a Theory, and to alleviate
the pangs of deprivation can only suck on a few small dry Correlations.


Bill P.