The Plurality of Psychology
Tracing the evolution of psychology through its various theoretical frameworks and paradigms over time reveals a salient interaction between several core factors. According to Watanabe (2010, p. 253-4), these factors range across three different levels: the epistemological, the methodological and the metapsychological levels. At the epistemological level, paradigms in psychology are guided by a psychologist’s point of view regarding a particular case; this is essentially dependent on a schism between the external phenomena and internal reactions, thoughts and ideals. The methodological level encompasses empiricism as the main tool of ascertaining the correct analysis of any phenomena of psychological interest.
At the third metapsychological level, decisions regarding the efficacy and accuracy of a certain psychological paradigm shift to the individual psychologist (Watanabe, 2010, p. 259). This is in essence a bias on the part of the individual psychologist on just which of the extant theories of psychology to employ. This is largely distinguishable from the aforementioned epistemological level in that, at the metapsychological level, it is not the factors of the case that offers the unquestionable guidelines to the psychologist. This means that the psychologist then must apply his or her understanding of the extant theories and determine which of them best suits the particular case in question.
According to Watanabe (2010, p. 257), the interplay between the two main levels, epistemological and methodological, gives rise to the available theories of psychology. These theories include: phenomenological psychology, cognitive psychology, psychoanalysis, introspective psychology, behaviorism and social constructionism. These major psychological theories all dependent on the following key variables: the personal viewpoints and experiences of psychologists and the possible explanations of observed phenomena.
Watanabe, T. (2010). Metascientific foundations for pluralism in psychology. New Ideas in Psychology, 28, 253–262.