Beyond Individual and Group Differences
Human Individuality, Scientific Psychology, and William Stern's Critical Personalism
- James T. Lamiell - Georgetown University Medical School, Georgetown University, USA
History of Psychology | Personality | Psychometrics
· Provides book-length treatment of the concept of human individuality in twentieth century scientific psychology, highlighting the historical contributions made by the German psychologist and philosopher William Stern (1871-1938).
· Critically appraises contemporary thinking about personality in light of historical and methodological considerations.
· Challenges readers to re-think the problem of human individuality with research that mounts a direct empirical challenge to the long-standing belief that it is meaningless to characterize individuals without comparing them to one another.
· Concludes with a general discussion of the potential of personlistic thinking both as a foundation for personality theory and as a framework for social thought.
"James Lamiell is a creative, sophisticated, and careful thinker, one whose ideas are deserving of broad attention….The book should be of interest to scholars and practitioners, along with advanced graduate students."
"Lamiell offers a critical analysis of the current state of the psychological study of human individuality. . . . The author makes a significant contribution in rescuing the work of an obscure intellectual pioneer and demonstrating its relevance to the contemporary study of individuality. Highly recommended."
"This book is fundamentally relevant in showing that the individual is returning to his or her central place in scientific psychology. ... The psychology of human beings must be built on the centrality of people's value making, and their use of these values in conducting their lives. ... Lamiell carries the reader out of the web of discourse about standardized methods and mundane correlational research to the wide thoroughfare of building a new version of idiographic science. ... Lamiell's positive methodological program fits the demands for consistency between the different components of the methodological cycle that unites theory, meta-theory, phenomena, methods and data in one system ... and demonstrates the value of knowing the history of science.
For anybody who appreciates depth of argumentation in psychology, Lamiell's book deviates in substantial ways from the opinions that have prevailed in psychology over the last fifty years and brings the discipline back to a place from which to develop a new idiographic science. ...
Lamiell's book ... is a rare treat in offering a synthesis of ideas in the very best tradition of general knowledge (science in the sense of Wissenschaft). It points psychology toward a new beginning; but will the discipline live up to that intellectual and social challenge?"
"There is much to admire in Gibbs’s important book. It is the only sustained scholarly attempt of which I am aware to synthesize the major traditions in cognitive and affective developmental research and theory, doing so by emphasizing both cognitive and affective capacities for taking the perspective of the other."