Publication Details

Petocz, A. & Mackay, N. (2013). Unifying psychology through situational realism. Review of General Psychology, 17 (2), 216-223.


We propose that a coherent and thoroughgoing version of realism, known as situational realism, offers a unifying program for psychology. This realism emerges from the conditions of being that enable knowledge and discourse. Because this research originated largely in a century's work by Australian psychologists and philosophers, we will introduce and explain research and vocabulary that might be unfamiliar to some readers. The approach is characterized by seven themes: ontological egalitarianism; situational complexity and process orientation; a network or field view of causality; a realist logic; a view of relations as nonconstitutive; an externalist relational approach to mind; and acceptance of critical inquiry as the core scientific method. The combination of these features offers psychology the following: a metatheoretical framework that resolves current tensions; expansion into the field of meanings and reintegration with hermeneutics and semiotics; clarification and redirection of mainstream cognitive neuroscience and information processing; an integrative approach to personality; expansion, redirection and unification of psychological research methods; and revision and expansion in psychological practice and teaching.



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