The Ambiguous “New History of Psychology”: New Questions for Brock (2017)

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Abstract

In 2006, Benjamin J. Lovett published the first critique of the “new history of psychology” in History of Psychology (Lovett, 2006). The first reply to it, from Adrian C. Brock, did not come until a decade later. The present article answers Brock’s (2017) comments by asking new (rhetorical) questions. The author claims that both Lovett and Brock misunderstood the ambiguity of the term “new history,” which refers simultaneously to critical narratives in general and to a particular rhetoric about the commitments of critical historiography (e.g., externalism, historicism, anti-Whiggism). Although Lovett’s article does present shortcomings, it is argued that many of his claims are still valid because his critique focused on the rhetoric of “new history.” Brock, for his part, uses the term “new history” in its full ambiguity and attempts to defend critical histories with the rhetoric of “new history.” As a result, Brock ends up reproducing many of the problems criticized by Lovett.

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