The Problem of Choosing Between Irreconcilable Theoretical Orientations: Comment on Melchert (2016)

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Abstract

Melchert (2016) argued that knowledge of psychological processes is now grounded in experimental tests of falsifiable theories that support a unified, paradigmatic understanding of human psychology. Although his argument for leaving behind our preparadigmatic past of competing theoretical orientations is welcome, Melchert (2016) presented a perspective in which the degree to which this is currently possible is overstated. In this comment, it is argued that scientific research does not replace paradigmatic assumptions but takes place within them. As such, it is not possible to take the theoretical orientations out of the practice of psychology, which is inevitably an expression of one’s philosophical assumptions of first principles.

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