Interfield Connections and Psychology
Woodward and Devonis propose a program for analyzing the history of psychology based on the notion of interfield theory. Both of us have long been interested in relations between fields or disciplines of science, and one of us (WB) has analyzed a number of examples of interfield theories. The notion of an interfield theory was developed for quite specific purposes, however, and it is not clear that it can bear the load Woodward and Devonis seek to place upon it. We will first indicate some of the challenges that will confront any attempt to apply the notion of interfield theory to analyzing the development of psychology as a discipline and then offer an alternative perspective on psychology as a discipline, from which we might then apply the notion of interfield theory fruitfully in a more restricted way. In addition to advancing a framework for analyzing the development of psychology, Woodward and Devonis also advance interpretations of specific aspects of psychology’s history. Some of these interpretations are open to challenge or alternative formulations; however, we have chosen to restrict our focus to questions raised by their application of interfield theory.
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