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On the virtues of an empirically oriented culture concept and on the limitations of too general and abstract characterizations of understanding.

Magazine article
Authors Carl Martin Allwood
Published in Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective,
Volume 2
Issue 11
Pages 54-61
ISSN 2471-9560
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 54-61
Language en
Links wp.me/p1Bfg0-15j
Keywords culture, science, meaning, indigeneous psychologies
Subject categories Psychology, Other Social Sciences

Abstract

In this ongoing debate on how culture should be best understood and on what would be a suitable culture concept for the Indigenous psychologies (IPs), Prof. Hwang argues that cultures should be described in terms of deep-structures and that such a culture concept would help the IPs to produce knowledge that is easily applicable to their own societies. In contrast, I argue that a more empirically oriented concept of culture would be more useful in general, and for the IPs in particular, since it is more likely to better mirror the reality it aims to predict. Hwang seems to equate deep-structures with generative mechanisms, but obviously there can be other types of generative mechanisms than deep-structures as this concept is used by Hwang, including mechanisms involving less deep structures or even shallow structures. The problem with Prof. Hwang’s approach to culture and science is that it is very general and abstract. By this it risks being somewhat simplistic. In general, it attempts to explain too much and thereby may explain, or predict, very little. This is also evident in his classification of me as a naïve empiricist.

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