Theory and Fact: Who's the Leader?

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(3), 188–189. Reviews the book, Concepts and Theories of Human Development by Richard M. Lerner (1976). This book deals with major concepts, issues, names, and theories familiar to developmental psychologists–nature-nurture, innate-learned behavior, continuity-discontinuity, stage theories, differential, ipsative, and learning approaches. The virtue of the book is the extent of its coverage and the timeliness of its topic. However, it has two major problems. First, it rests on a dubious epistemology that pervades almost every chapter in one form or other, and second, it treats various theories in an uneven and frequently misleading manner. The author's strengths come through better in the chapters dealing with the substance of specific theories or approaches. The writing is clear and straightforward, the topics covered are interesting and comprehensive, some parts of the book are timely and relevant, and some parts are of critical historical importance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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