By Charles W. Tolman

During this quantity, Klaus Holzkamp and his colleagues supply a coherent and generally elaborated description of severe Psychology--a idea of the evolution of the social structure of human recognition and different types of psychological activity--which has been in improvement in Germany for greater than two decades and constitutes an intensive critique and reconstruction of clinical psychology from a dialectical and historic- materialistic viewpoint. Its goal is to supply a more impregnable starting place than almost immediately exists for a psychology that's methodologically sound, essentially suitable, and theoretically determinate. during this quantity, Tolman and Maiers coordinate the contributions of numerous German psychologists led through Klaus Holzkamp and his colleagues. Infused with theoretical sophistication, the papers element the results of serious Psychology on numerous fronts: a concept of feelings, types of psychotherapy, the effect of automation within the place of work, and a concept of studying. Chapters construct upon one another, going from common problems with technique to extra particular matters. severe Psychology: Contributions to an historic technology of the topic is the 1st publication to make severe Psychology obtainable to an English-speaking viewers. As a principal strength within the exploration of task concept, this paintings could be of curiosity to cognitive psychologists, developmental psychologists, social anthropologists, and educators.

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Critical Psychologists note that the objective societal conditions provide only ''premises'' for individual behavior, not causes. Thus the "independent variable" approach to human behavior typical of mainstream bourgeois psychology is wrong on two counts. First, it does not take subjective grounds for action into account. In fact, experimental designs are often explicitly intended to eliminate such subjective grounds. Second, the concept of "variable" is altogether too abstract. Real understanding of human action can only come from an analysis of the concrete societal situation of the individual.

It was an expression of the fundamental weaknesses of the leading idea of a strictly empirical approach to the formation and assessment of theories, weaknesses that even critical rationalist fallibilism could not consistently overcome, that these problems could not be solved with the usual procedures for improving methods. Rather, following Dingler and May. they required a constructivist (action-) logic of research as a practical realization of theory. In the "Relevance" article Holzkamp, following the lines of a critical theory of society, focused the constructivistic explanation of the theoretical and empirical disintegration of nomothetic-experimental psychology on the problem of the practical meaninglessness of psychology.

In this deepening of the historical perspective, it makes possible a scientific conceptualization of "human nature" that overcomes the traditional mystification of an opposition between the natural and societal characters of the individual. 6 It has been sufficiently demonstrated in the largely fruitless and unresolved instinct-versus-learning controversy that the categorial determinations of this relationship cannot be obtained in the unmediated approach to psychoontogenesis since natural potentials here always manifest themselves in socialized forms.

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