The New History of Psychology II: Some (Different) Answers to Watrin’s Four Questions

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Abstract

This article is mainly a response to the article by João Paulo Watrin, “The Ambiguous ‘New History of Psychology’: Some New Questions to Brock (2017)” (Watrin, 2017), which was itself a reply to my article, “The New History of Psychology: Some (Different) Answers to Lovett’s Five Questions” (Brock, 2017). Watrin (2017) suggested that previous writers have conflated the terms “critical history” and “new history.” They are said to differ, in that although the former is merely a name for a loose collection of approaches to the history of psychology, the latter involves rhetoric about the historiographical commitments of critical history. He also disputed the validity of the distinction between “old” and “new” history. I suggest that he is wrong on all these points. Watrin then poses and answers four rhetorical questions on Whig history, textbooks, critical thinking, and ad hominem arguments, and I provide alternative answers to all of them. After suggesting that our different views can be attributed to different agendas, I conclude with some reflections on how professional historians and psychologists can work together.

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