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.

URL: http://www.captus.com/information/catalogue/book.a...

Abstract

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).

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