Theory and research on practices, theory and research as practices: Hermeneutics and psychological inquiry

Michael A. Westerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

What are the implications for theory and research in psychology of a hermeneutic perspective that takes practices as its starting point notion? The author addresses this wide-ranging issue by considering a number of specific questions in turn, including, among others, whether the hermeneutic perspective leads to rejecting systematic, quantitative research methods; whether it leads to the conclusion that efforts at theory and research provide us with an understanding of human behavior that is arbitrary; and whether a practices-based perspective points to a way of pursuing inquiry in psychology that is better than proceeding along the lines of mainstream psychology. The answers to these questions include a number of surprises, especially regarding how the hermeneutic perspective contrasts with mainstream psychology and how it differs from social constructionism. The author also identifies challenging issues for adherents of the hermeneutic perspective, including, in particular, issues concerning the limits of what we can know about psychological phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-156
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Psychology(all)

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