Psychology of Science as a Contribution to Metascience

  • P. J. van Strien
Conference paper
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


Psychologists have developed theories on creativity, which offer interesting insights into the personal conditions of scientific work, but have, possibly due to fear of psychologism, hardly ventured psychological explanations of the content of scientific ideas. In this article science is conceived as the production and reception of solutions to theoretical and practical problems. The psychological reconstruction of the problem solving space of specific scientists consists of: a) a conceptual reconstruction of the questions which they have set out to answer and of the conceptual tools and notions which they have used in the problem solving process, and b) a relational reconstruction aimed at identifying the groups within science and society that have served as their “reference systems”, in the sense of sources of notions, critical evaluators, etc. This twofold recontextualization can contribute to metascience.

The reconstruction of the intellectual and social context of the metaphysical and psychological theories of the renowned Dutch pioneer of psychology Gerard Heymans is used as an illustration of such a meta-analysis.


Relational Context Conceptual Tool Scientific Thinking Critical Evaluator 23rd Annual Meeting 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

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  • P. J. van Strien

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