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Integr Psychol Behav Sci. 2015 Dec;49(4):681-713. doi: 10.1007/s12124-015-9313-7.

Activity Theories and the Ontology of Psychology: Learning from Danish and Russian Experiences.

Author information

1
Niels Bohr Professorship Centre of Cultural Psychology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. jensmammen@gmail.com.
2
Niels Bohr Professorship Centre of Cultural Psychology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.
3
Department of Psychology, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Abstract

Psychology has permanent problems of theoretical coherence and practical, analytic and critical efficiency. It is claimed that Activity Theory (AT) with roots in a long European philosophical tradition and continued in Russian AT is a first step to remedy this. A Danish version of AT may have a key to exceed some, mostly implicit, ontological restrictions in traditional AT and free it from an embracement of functionalism and mechanicism, rooted in Renaissance Physics. The analysis goes back to Aristotle's understanding of the freely moving animal in its ecology and introduces some dualities in the encounter between subject and object which replace the dualistic dichotomies traditionally splitting Psychology in Naturwissenschaft vs. Geisteswissenshaft. This also implies a "Copernican turn" of Cartesian dualism. The perspectives are to give place for a phenomenology of meaning without cutting human psyche out of Nature and to open Psychology to its domain.

KEYWORDS:

Activity theory; Dualism; Functionalism; History of psychology; Human psyche vs. animal psyche; Mechanicism; Ontology; Phenomenology; Psychology in Germany, Russia, Denmark; Rationalism vs. empiricism; Sense categories and choice categories; Set theoretical topology

PMID:
26001990
DOI:
10.1007/s12124-015-9313-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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