The Open UniversitySkip to content

Psychology in the key of life: deep empiricism and process ontology

Stenner, Paul (2011). Psychology in the key of life: deep empiricism and process ontology. In: Stenner, Paul; Cromby, John; Motzkau, Johanna; Yen, Jeffrey and Haosheng, Yu eds. Theoretical psychology: Global transformations and challenges. Ontario, Canada: Captus, pp. 48–58.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available
Due to copyright restrictions, this file is not available for public download
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This chapter sketches a contrast between a psychology in the key of life and a psychology in the key of matter. The traditional scientific methods of the latter have obscured questions of life and consciousness, but these questions can be re-opened through an engagement with the relational process thinking associated with figures such as Bergson, James, Whitehead and Canguilhem. To assist such a ‘key change’, this chapter will engage principally with the work of George Canguilhem and Alfred North Whitehead in order to articulate the importance of the conception of life in process thinking. In so doing I will contrast a psychology in the key of life (which assumes a unitary cosmology and places emphasis on a virtual future in process of actualisation) with a psychology in the key of lifeless matter (which assumes a bifurcated cosmology and limits itself to efficient causality from the past).

Item Type: Book Chapter
Copyright Holders: 2011 International Society for Theoretical Psychology
ISBN: 1-55322-240-7, 978-1-55322-240-8
Academic Unit/Department: Social Sciences > Psychology in the Social Sciences
Item ID: 30138
Depositing User: Paul Stenner
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2011 09:57
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2012 14:03
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340