Unfolding Social Constructionism by Fiona J. HibberdUnfolding Social Constructionism by Fiona J. Hibberd

Unfolding Social Constructionism

byFiona J. Hibberd

Paperback | September 17, 2011

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This book examines social constructionism as a metatheory of psychology.  It does not consider constructionist accounts of psycho-social phenomena, but it does assess certain assumptions which are said to underpin those accounts, assumptions which are primarily semantic and epistemological.  The first part of the book explains why the charges of relativism and self-refutation leveled at social constructionism miss their target, and it considers a constructionist attempt to defend the metatheory by appropriating the concept of performative utterances.  The second part of the book challenges the generally accepted view that social constructionism is antithetical to positivist philosophy of science.  This is done via an examination of the doctrine of conventionalism, constitutive relations, dualism, Wittgenstein's meaning-as-use thesis, verificationism, operationism, linguistic phenomenalism, and Kant's limitations of human knowledge.  It is shown that, in certain respects, these topics unite social constructionism with its bête noire logical positivism, and that psychology's repeated endorsement of these ideas hinders the development of a rigorous psycho-social science.  The book ends with a brief, speculative section in which it is suggested that the skepticism and internalism of social constructionist metatheory is an unconscious strategy of survival against failure.Fiona J. Hibberd is lecturer in the School of Psychology, University of Sydney.  She specializes in the history, theory and philosophy of psychology, and in theories of personality, and has published in theoretical journals in the social sciences.
Title:Unfolding Social ConstructionismFormat:PaperbackDimensions:228 pagesPublished:September 17, 2011Publisher:Springer USLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1441935665

ISBN - 13:9781441935663

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Table of Contents

1. SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM AS A METATHEORY OF    PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE     1.1. A POST-MODERNIST PROGRAM     1.2. SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM     1.3. POTTER'S DISCOURSE ANALYSIS     1.4. SHOTTER'S CONVERSATIONAL ANALYSIS     1.5. GERGEN'S METATHEORY OF PSYCHOLOGICAL             SCIENCE     1.6. UNFOLDING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN            LANGUAGE AND REALITY          1.6.1. Psychology's theories are not derived from observation                    (A1)          1.6.2. Psychology's theories do not depict, map, mirror,                    contain, convey, picture, reflect, store or represent                     reality (A2)          1.6.3. Psychological phenomena are not discourse-                    independent (A3)          1.6.4. Summary     1.7. GERGEN'S RATIONALE FOR PROPOSITIONS A1, A2            AND A3           1.7.1. A theory of meaning involving external reference is                    implausible          1.7.2. The meanings of psychology's theoretical terms                    areindeterminate          1.7.3. Meaning is contextually dependent          1.7.4. Meaning has social origins within situations     1.8. CONCLUSION 2. RELATIVISM AND SELF-REFUTATION      2.1. INTRODUCTION     2.2. AN ANALYSIS OF THE CHARGE OF RELATIVISM      2.3. RELATIVISM DEFINED     2.4. EPISTEMOLOGICAL RELATIVISM          2.4.1. Epistemological relativism1          2.4.2. Epistemological relativism2      2.5. ONTOLOGICAL RELATIVISM     2.6. CONCEPTUAL RELATIVISM     2.7. SELF-REFUTATION          2.7.1. The classical refutation of relativism          2.7.2. Mackie's analysis of self-refutation          2.7.3. Ascribing self-refutation to social constructionism     2.8. CONCLUSION 3. NON-FACTUALISM      3.1. INTRODUCTION      3.2. RE-STATING GERGEN'S POSITION     3.3. NON-FACTUALISM DEFINED           3.3.1. The Fregean approach to assertoric and                     non-assertoric discourse           3.3.2. The non-factualist approach to assertoric and                     non-assertoric discourse           3.3.3. Gergen's universal generalisation      3.4. AUSTIN'S CONSTATIVE-PERFORMATIVE            DISTINCTION           3.4.1. The explicit performative formula           3.4.2. A theory of speech acts      3.5. GERGEN'S ALTERNATIVE TO EXTERNAL            REFERENCE AND TO THE RECEIVED             VIEW OF ASSERTION          3.5.1. The appropriation of Austin's theory           3.5.2.Gergen's example of the performative function of words      3.6. DO ALL SPEECH-ACTS EXPRESS STATES OF            AFFAIRS?      3.7. CONCLUSION 4. THE RECEIVED VIEW OF LOGICAL POSITIVISM AND ITS    RELATIONSHIP TO SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM     4.1. INTRODUCTION      4.2. TERMINOLOGICAL INEXACTNESS: POSITIVISM,            LOGICAL POSITIVISM AND LOGICAL EMPIRICISM     4.3. THE FAILURE OF POSITIVISM AS A METATHEORY            FOR PSYCHOLOGY      4.4. THE RECEIVED VIEW      4.5. CONCLUSION  5. CONVENTIONALISM      5.1. INTRODUCTION     5.2. CONVENTIONALISM'S INTELLECTUAL ANCESTRY           5.2.1. The context: Kant and J. S. Mill           5.2.2. The emergence of conventionalism:                     Hilbert's investigation of Euclidean geometry           5.2.3. Poincaré's theory of the status of geometrical axioms           5.2.4. Poincaré's application of conventionalism to                    scientific principles           5.2.5. Concluding remarks     5.3. THE CONVENTIONALISM OF THE LOGICAL            POSITIVISTS           5.3.1. Schlick           5.3.2. Reichenbach           5.3.3. Carnap           5.3.4. Summary      5.4. FROM LOGICAL POSITIVISM TO SOCIAL            CONSTRUCTIONISM VIA KUHN'S ACCOUNT OF            SCIENCE      5.5. CONVENTIONALISM IN GERGEN'S METATHEORY           5.5.1. Psychological theories as conventions           5.5.2. Logic as conventions of discourse      5.6. THE INCOHERENCE OF CONVENTIONALISM           5.6.1. The condition of consistency rests on an empirical                    claim           5.6.2. Conventionalism and the fallacy of constitutive                    relations           5.6.3. Conventionalism involves dualism           5.6.4. Linguistic conventions are no substitute for logic      5.7. CONCLUSION 6. MEANING AS USE      6.1. INTRODUCTION      6.2. WITTGENSTEIN'S IDENTIFICATION OF            MEANING WITH USE      6.3. SCHLICK'S ADOPTION OF WITTGENSTEIN'S            CRITERION           6.3.1. The principle of verification: early position -                    meaning is linked to states of affairs           6.3.2. The principle of verification: middle position -                    meaning is sometimes identified with use           6.3.3. The principle of verification: meaning is identified                    with use           6.3.4. The connection with operationism           6.3.5. Concluding remarks      6.4. THE CONSTRUCTIONISTS' ADOPTION OF            WITTGENSTEIN'S CRITERION           6.4.1. The contextual dependency of meaning           6.4.2. The similarities with Schlick's appropriation          6.4.3. Social constructionism and operationism           6.4.4. Reconsideration of the received view      6.5. CRITICAL COMMENTS           6.5.1. The incomplete characterisation of meaning           6.5.2. Wittgenstein's examination of the concept 'game'           6.5.3. A disregard for the general      6.6. CONCLUSION  7. PHENOMENALISM AND ITS ANALOGUE      7.1. INTRODUCTION      7.2. THE PHENOMENAL 'GIVEN' IN LOGICAL POSITIVISM     7.3. SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM'S CONTINUATION OF            'KNOWLEDGE AS MEDIATED', AND THE LINK TO             KANT           7.3.1. The worst argument in the world: social                    constructionism's 'Gem'      7.4. CONCLUSION  8. CONCLUSIONS AND SPECULATIONS