Unified Clinical Science, or Paradigm Diversity? Comment on Melchert (2016)

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Abstract

Drawing on Kuhn’s (1970) analysis, Melchert (2016) argued that current professional psychology exists in a preparadigmatic state and that a transition to a unified clinical science based on the paradigm of the behavioral and neurosciences is now possible. But Melchert’s analysis makes questionable assumptions about reducibility and neglects several crucial aspects of Kuhn’s analysis. A close examination of psychological work on problems such as violence against women indicates that different research paradigms and their associated exemplars identify strengths and weaknesses of specific treatment resources that cannot be entirely encompassed within a single paradigmatic perspective (Jackson, 2015b) and additionally suggests that psychological knowledge is governed by at least 3 overarching research paradigms, as well as a variety of subparadigms encompassing applied and mixed methods research and many current orientations to professional psychology (Jackson, 2015a).

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