Of Tribunals and Teflon: What Does and Doesn’t Stick in Psychological Science
8th November 2022
@ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
About the Speaker
Louise Barrett works on sociality and cognitive evolution in human and non-human primates from a 4E perspective. She co-directs a long-term study of vervet monkeys in South Africa, and also conducts research on the behavioural ecology of human populations. She currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Cognition.
Wittgenstein’s diagnosis of the conceptual issues that beset Psychology are well known—except by psychologists themselves. There have been numerous investigations aimed at providing conceptual clarity in areas of comparative, developmental, social and cognitive psychology, as well as cognitive neuroscience. Nevertheless, many psychologists continue to insist that improvements in methods and analysis, along broadly Popperian lines, will provide the solution to Psychology’s current ills.
Clearly, there is something about Wittgensteinian conceptual analyses that just doesn’t stick and somehow fails to satisfy those with most to gain from it. I will explore the Teflon surfaces of Psychology, taking, as central examples, discoveries from my work on animal minds. My aim is to show why and how psychologists are still held captive by an anthropocentric and scientistic picture of what their discipline could and should be.