On way to new understanding of subject matter of psychology

Vladimir Aleksandrovich Mazilov


Mazilov V.A. On way to new understanding of subject matter of psychology // Psychological science and practice: State of the Art. Collected papers / Ed. Kostrigin A.A. Chicago, 2017. P. 20-24.

The history of psychology is the history of the search for the subject of psychology. View of the history of psychology as the acquisition of science by its true subject is the legitimate one, in our opinion. Psychology had a "difficult childhood", now it is the time of its formation. A truly fundamental science of psychology will be when it begins to consider the psyche in its full extent. To do this, we must abandon the alien paradigms (natural or humanistic) that interfere with the development of psychology and recognize that the psyche is a unique scientific object and subject to which the methods of cognition developed in other sciences are hardly applicable to the fullest extent. An indirect indicator that psychology deals with a "special case" is the relationship between psychology and the philosophy of science: psychologists try to use the development of the philosophy of science and put them at the service of their own science, but, to be honest, without major success. In turn, philosophers of science prefer to develop their theories on the basis of natural science. It seems that the specifics of psychology haven’t been fully revealed yet. It is shown that psychology as the science has significant differences from the natural and sociohumanitarian sciences, therefore the theories developed within the framework of the philosophy of science on "psychological space" do not work very efficiently (Mazilov, 2015, 2016).

Let's say a few words about the subject of psychology. Theoretical analysis of the subject assumes, first of all, the identification of the functions that the subject of psychological science must fulfill, as well as its main characteristics. It seems that we can talk about the following functions (Mazilov, 2006):

1. Constitution of science. It is the concept of the object of science that makes the existence of some area of knowledge possible as an independent scientific discipline, independent and distinct from others.

2. Ensuring the work of the "subject machine". It means that the subject must provide the possibility of movement in the subject field of psychological science and, due to intrasubject correlations and research procedures, produce growth in subject knowledge.

3. Provision of the function of a substantive "operational table" (M. Foucault), which would really allow to correlate the results of studies carried out in different approaches and schools.

4. Didactic function associated with the construction of the content of educational subjects.

We call the main characteristics of the subject (Mazilov, 2006):

1. The subject must exist realistically, should not be "artificially" constructed (in order to be the subject of science in the true sense of the word), i.e. it must not be a property of some other subjects, but a psychic reality must be explored (in other words, the subject must have an ontological status).

2. The subject must be internally complex enough to contain the essential, allowing one to reveal its own laws of existence and development, and not to reduce the inherently simple psychic to something extra, thereby providing a reduction of the mental.

3. The understanding of the subject must be such as to allow the development of the science of psychology by its own logic, without reducing the unfolding of psychological contents to an alien psychology of the logic of natural or hermeneutic knowledge.

It seems obvious that the realization of these functions requires not a formal definition of the subject as an idea, but a cumulative content ‑ what we call the aggregate subject. In our opinion, it is expedient to consider the inner world of the person as the subject of scientific psychology. Here we emphasize that the priority in developing the problem of the inner world as a psychological education in the modern Russian history of psychology belongs to V.D. Shadrikov (Shadrikov, 2006). He also proposed to consider the inner world as a concrete filling of the concept of the subject of psychology (Shadrikov, 2004). To consider the inner world of person as the subject of psychology we also offer in the textbook "General Psychology" (Mazilov, 2002).

The textbook was prepared and published for psychologists and students of humanitarian fields and specialties (Shadrikov, Mazilov, 2015). In preparing this textbook, the new understanding of the subject of psychology as the inner world of man was used. It is especially worth emphasizing that this presentation of the understanding of the subject seems quite constructive. In the textbook, the subject "inner world of man" is not only declared, but also maximally explicated: from didactic considerations the inner architectonics of the subject is fully represented.

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(c) 2017 Vladimir Aleksandrovich Mazilov