Essay on Is Psychology a Science?

Essay on Is Psychology a Science?

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Psychology is an integral part of our modern society, and its influence is quite widespread. Many important decisions, which are made in our society, can be based on psychology - decisions which affect the lives of many people. This is why it is important to determine whether or not psychology is a science. The answer to the question if psychology is a science is not a simple 'yes' or 'no' – it depends on the area of psychological study, on the theory used within an area, and often on the way the researcher chooses to study a phenomenon ( Makunda, 1997). It also depends on what is meant by 'scientific' – for the philosopher of science Karl Popper, for instance, the most important criterion was what he called 'falsifiability'. There are also other criteria of science, which I am going to present in this essay. I will examine different psychological theories in the light of different aspects of scientific endeavour.
Defining science is not an easy task. There are many different concepts of science. According to Webster (1992) science is the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena, through objective means. Put it simply scientists conduct experiments and observations to collect data about world and to explain these facts. Chalmers (1999) states that science is something visible, touchable, hearable, rather than opinions or beliefs. Davies says that: “Science is a structure based upon facts”(as cited in Chalmers, 1999, p. 1). The American Heritage Science Dictionary appears to encompass the general consensus, and defines science as: “The investigation of natural phenomena through observation, theoretical explanation, and experimentation, or the knowledge produced...


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...aim at scientific principles to measure the whole world. In many areas of psychology there is no attempt to generalise from some human behaviour to all human behaviour. .It might be a more worthwhile exercise to divide psychology into its separate fields and ask the question of each. It could be argued that the behaviorist approach is the most scientific, focussing on what people do, rather than how they think; something that is observable. The approach ignores speculation while putting emphasis on objectivity. Conversely, most of Freud’s theories within the psychodynamic approach seem untestable, unfalsifiable and, ultimately, unscientific. The question and answer sessions associated with psychoanalysis rely on introspection, of which there is scientific doubt. Without doubt is that he debate of psychology as a science will probably remain a debate for some time.

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