Social Scientific Paradigm In Psychology

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This paper argues that Positivism is the most efficient social scientific paradigm for Psychology. In doing so, we will trace back the history and development of both Psychology and Positivism as a discipline and a philosophical theory, respectively. This is necessary in order to primarily, (1) see how Psychology grew to structurally adapt a positivistic nature of having descriptive, controlled, and experimental procedures. And (2) provide historical evidence of the implications and uses of positivism in the field of Psychology. Thus, making positivism the perfect fit out of all the other social scientific paradigms for the field of Psychology according to its history, structure, ontology, epistemology and methodology.
The Development of Psychology
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After its separation from its parent disciplines, its story of progress continued on the development of tools, techniques, and methods to have precise and objective results to address the problems that the discipline poses (Schultz and Schultz, 2011).
Psychology: A Highly Positivist Discipline This brief history of the development of modern psychology and its roots evidently manifests its positivistic nature and inclinations. In this part of the paper, we will be able to see how Psychology and Positivism developed hand in hand with each other and therefore validating our primary claim that Positivism is the most appropriate social scientific paradigm for Psychology.
In 1848, August Comte founded the Societe Positiviste (Crotty, 1998). He propagated his belief that all sciences should have a universal method of inquiry in search for universal truths respective to the ontology of the discipline. Such method of inquiry being the scientific method, such methodology were applied to various disciplines including mathematics, physics, sociology, biology, and psychology (Breen and Darlaston-Jones, 2008,
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With the nature of having hybrid origins from both the social sciences (philosophy) and natural sciences (physiology) it was highly criticized throughout the years of its development by its natural sciences descent. Continuous criticism regarding its scientific, and positivist influences arose through its crucial years and it has stood strong and proven its importance to be recognized as its own discipline. The appropriation and application of the epistemology and methodologies of the natural sciences to social and psychological and phenomena evidently proves that positivism is strictly the social scientific paradigm of Psychology. Psychology’s positivistic nature can be summarized in its Epistemological and Methodological aspects: (1) With its primary goal of searching universal truths regarding the processes of the mind, and behaviors of human beings. (2) The use of deductive methods in experimentation, like defining, controlling and manipulating variables, to produce precise and objective data and predictions to certain
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