Psychological Objects, Practice, and History

  • Kurt Danziger
Part of the Annals of Theoretical Psychology book series (AOTP, volume 8)


The theories of modem psychology always appear as components of complex formations that also have two other components, namely, specific empirical domains and sets of practices employed in the construction of such domains and of the corresponding theories. These formations can only be fully understood through historical analysis, for they are historical products. Their content comprises “psychological objects”, which are the things psychologists take themselves to be investigating and theorizing about. Such psychological objects are not to be confused with natural objects, for they are crucially shaped by the theoretical constructive activity and by the practical intervention of psychological communities. The historical situation of these communities influences their constriction of psychological objects in that it provides the criteria of legitimacy by which specific constructive activities and their products are judged. This does not mean that psychological objects can be reduced to the status of “nothing but” socio-historical constructions, though it does mean that the categories with which the discipline of Psychology works can never be accepted as “natural kinds” and that its research practices lose their supra-mundane status.


Natural Kind Psychological Theory Constructive Activity Research Situation Empirical Object 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Danziger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityDownsviewCanada

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