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November 2021

Psychological inquiry and the pragmatic and hermeneutic traditions

Journal/Book: Theor Psychol. 2000; 10: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA. Sage Publications Inc. 453-479.

Abstract: Psychological practitioner inquiry differs in kind from psychological researcher inquiry. From the perspective of researcher inquiry, practice should consist of applying research-generated knowledge. Because practitioners consistently report that this is not how they approach their clients, and because the epistemological foundations of psychology research inquiry have been questioned, it is necessary to study how practitioners actually engage in practice. The hermeneutic tradition of Heidegger and Gadamer and the pragmatic tradition of Dewey provide a philosophical groundwork for the study of practitioner inquiry. Gadamer and Dewey propose that in everyday functioning people primarily act out of their internalized, culturally provided knowledge, which primarily functions outside of awareness. However, they also hold that people are not locked into their socially transmitted backgrounds. People can advance the effectiveness of their received practical knowledge through reflective inquiry and trial-and-error activity. People learn from the effect of these trials and thereby expand their background understandings. For ordinary everyday functioning, psychological practitioners are assumed to engage in a process similar to the one outlined by Dewey and Gadamer.

Note: Article Polkinghorne DE, Univ So Calif, Div Counseling Psychol, Waite Phillips Hall 500A, Los Angeles,CA 90089 USA

Keyword(s): everydayness; hermeneutics; inquiry; practical knowledge; pragmatism

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