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July 2022

Against Wittgenstein - Materialist reflections on language in psychology

Journal/Book: Theor Psychol. 1996; 6: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Sage Publ Inc. 363-384.

Abstract: Wittgenstein's writing offers to psychologists a series of critical perspectives on concepts regularly employed by the discipline, and it assists in the deconstruction of facile appeals to notions of 'cognition', 'drive' or 'self' in which traditional psychology trades. However, academic and popular representations of the Wittgensteinian focus on language, and on the discursive setting for all varieties of mental and cultural phenomena, also threaten to obscure the material structuring of contemporary institutional power, power that both inhibits and incites speech. Selected aphorisms from Wittgenstein that have been used to warrant radical linguistic reflections on psychology are examined, and it is argued that these theoretical points need to be contextualized and reworked to accommodate a historical materialist account.

Note: Article I Parker, Bolton Inst Higher Educ, Bolton BL3 5AB, England

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