The Beyond Must Also be Useful: The Burden of Alternative Approaches

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Abstract

Advocates of many different approaches have, for years, attempted to usurp cognitive psychology's dominance in the field of psychology. Unfortunately, none of these approaches have yet made a convincing case that they could take cognitive psychology's place. Because of its explicit use of the mind-as-computer model, cognitivism gains a false sense of concreteness, and becomes pragmatically useful. Because their models are implicit, alternatives, such as phenomenology, gain a false sense of ambiguity and lose their pragmatic potential. In addition, alternative theories often alienate potential sympathizers through unnecessarily harsh criticism. This leads to a professional attitude in which one must take sides, rather than an attitude that appreciates the benefits of diversity, and may lead to the emergence of other beneficial models. If alternative approaches, such as Dr. Flores-González's (Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Sciences, 2008), could push through to the point of immediate usefulness, and present themselves in a less adversarial way, they would be much better placed make meaningful contributions.

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