On tradition as ‘constitutive-dispossessive’

To appeal to tradition as constitutive of psychology’s subject matter challenges in a fundamental way the discipline’s self-understanding. A key implication of this challenge is that the criteria for evaluation of psychological knowledge claims shift from epistemology to philosophical anthropology. I explore some aspects attendant on such a shift in criteria, in particular those affecting the individualistic ideology that disciplinary psychology and its epistemological self-understanding continue to uphold. To understand the person as constituted through tradition is radically dispossessive of individuality. This paper articulates and defends the claim that only through such a dispossessive effort can a human science theory like psychology affirm the reality and significance of relationality, and restore the possibility of a language of qualitative evaluation in which to cast our moral, ethical, and spiritual aspirations. 

ReferencePeet, C. (2007). On tradition as ‘constitutive-dispossessive’. Paper presented at the CPA Annual Conference, held in Ottawa, Ontario, June 7-9, 2007.

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