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Concerning Paradigmatic Status of Psychological Science: For a Flexible and Flowing Psychology in the Face of Practical and Theoretical Challenges


We comment on the article by Zagaria et al., which explicates the ““soft” nature of psychology: a minor consensus in its “core”” (Zagaria et al., p. 1), manifested by the discordant character of definitions of psychological “core-constructs”. Zagaria et al. build on the assumption that psychological science should reside in the status of a paradigm, meanwhile the real state of things they consider as pre-paradigmatic, imperfect and unhealthy, from which a transition to a paradigm is necessary. We cannot agree with this provision. We argue that not internal coherence and consistency, but the ability to reflect multifaceted reality, to answer its innovative manifestations in various dimensions and solve tasks that life poses to humanity with an adequate set of different tools not reducible to a single approach, is what makes the value of science. Psychology originally developed as poly paradigmatic science, because its subject has a most complex nature, holistic, yet incorporating many aspects different in their essence and, therefore, requiring different versions of the methodology. Considering epistemology of psychological science from the philosophical perspective implying special focus on the ontological issues, we argue that poly paradigmatic structure of psychology is a virtue, not weakness. Thanks to such a structure, modular, like a Swiss knife, our science may offer the most effective solutions for a variety of problems. Multiplicity of relative approaches is best fit for life and innovation, even though we have to sacrifice rigor and concordance of definitions in introductory textbooks.

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We wish to thank Jaan Valsiner for his invitation to write this paper.


Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project № 20-013-00260. Basic Research Program at the NRU HSE (Academic Excellence Project '5-100').

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Correspondence to Irina A. Mironenko.

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Mironenko, I.A., Sorokin, P.S. Concerning Paradigmatic Status of Psychological Science: For a Flexible and Flowing Psychology in the Face of Practical and Theoretical Challenges. Integr. psych. behav. 54, 604–612 (2020).

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  • Paradigms in psychology
  • Crisis of psychology
  • Philosophy of science
  • Ontology
  • Epistemology
  • Evolution of science
  • Changing modernity
  • Innovations