chapter  2
16 Pages

Reflections on a ″Model″ Approach to Metapsychology

WithRoderick M. Stewart

For Hayne Reese and Willis Overton, lying behind competing research programs in developmental psychology are two general models, which they call the “mechanistic model” and the “organismic model,” respectively. This chapter aims to raise two sets of questions for Reese and Overton’s project. The first set of questions takes for granted the model/metaphor metascience employed by them and raises only “internal” questions. The second set of questions comprises queries and challenges from competing metascientific viewpoints. “Internal” question concerns this incompatibility thesis. The question arises for professional psychology whether the behaviorist’s social learning theory can pick up this “social” slack. Insofar as B. F. Skinner’s invitation to get beyond freedom and dignity is refused and some sort of notion of free agency continues to be ascribed to humans by teleological-mentalistic philosophers. The chapter examines the metascientific claims made by Reese and Overton about their “models” approach to reconstructing research programs in psychology.