The four different modes of psychological explanation, and their proper evaluative schemas

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Abstract

I apply Benjamin's (1941) taxonomy of common scientific modes of explanation to the psychological context. I argue that: (i) in a naming mode, generalizability is not necessary; (ii) in an analysis, generalizability is desired; (iii) in a causal ontology, generalizability is merely one of the means to an end (theory-challenge); (iv) in a synthesis, generalizability is (eventually) critical. A better appreciation of the diversity in psychologists' modes of explanation is crucial for cogent meta-psychological discussions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Volume45
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

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