Psychology between science and technology: A proposal for the development of a theory of practice

Nicolo' Maria Gaj*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

1 Citazioni (Scopus)


Over the course of time, a fundamental methodological dissent about the borders and features of psychology has developed. One of the main roots of this dissent may be found in the dispute over the primacy of an objective-subpersonal versus a subjective-personal outlook regarding human beings. Another controversial aspect that has emerged in the recent history within the discipline concerns two different ways of understanding the aims of psychology: understanding phenomena versus changing phenomena. This article proposes that the aim of understanding phenomena pertains to scientific psychology, whereas that of changing phenomena pertains to design psychology (DP). It is further argued that science and technology are connected dimensions, whose borders are porous. In fact, they may be considered as the two polar extremes of a continuum characterized respectively by theoretical and practical rationality. Between these poles, activities with different degrees of theoretical and practical rationality can be found. Beginning with an analysis of technology, which is a context-dependent endeavor characterized by rules specifying means-ends relationships, this article illustrates the main features of DP and the conceptual framework suitable for its development. It is argued that the development of DP would involve the following: It requires a more sophisticated, less simplistic, conception of the scientific method; it needs to (provisionally) answer ontological questions; it involves the need to focus on molar, personal processes whose importance is primary in ecological contexts; it should have a marked ethical commitment, as it is a discipline at the service of human development.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)77-91
Numero di pagine15
RivistaJournal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018


  • Philosophy of psychology
  • Philosophy of technology
  • Psychological practice
  • Theory of practice
  • philosophy of psychology
  • philosophy of technology
  • psychological practice
  • theory of practice


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