Center for Humanities: Monday Night Lecture Series

Monday, April 22, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM (ET)
Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)
Event Type
Savage, Erinn

Truing Psychology and What about Its Objects?  

Jill Morawski, Wesleyan University

Over the last decade the scientific grounds of psychology have been unsteadied by a torrent of devastating critiques.  Researchers have reported and continue to report cases of exaggeration, fraud, questionable research practices, and experimenters’ cognitive biases.  Many hold these shortcomings and misconduct to be remediable by making significant modifications to current scientific practice. The proposed reforms cover the entirety of investigative procedures, from the initial design of hypotheses to the final reporting of experimental results.  Through these reforms, psychological science is being “trued.” Yet while the critiques and reform proposals indicate lack of trust in the science’s investigative practices, there endures a certain trust in its objects: psychological phenomena continue to be held as causally determined, stable, and (mostly) universal.  Given the extensiveness of scientific doubt, what can be said about this exceptionalism of psychology’s objects?  We might ask, is psychology’s ontology true?  If so, what is the evidence of this assumption?  Or are psychology’s objects “trued”?  By what means can we find the truth of the matter? 

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