Thomas B. Davidson
The pedagogical technique of comparing and contrasting two conflicting points of view is common within the discipline of history as well as in many other academic contexts, including Psychology. This comparison of two viewpoints, as if there were really only two, simplifies and creates a binary that is easily grasped. The listeners exposed to such a binary presentation simply adopt a single, streamlined view and marshal arguments for that chosen side. This pedagogical approach usually surfaces the underlying contradictory tensions in the area to be examined. This allows for an exploration of the dissimilar or contrasting assumptions. Usually these two disparate positions represent extremes at either end of a continuum of view, usually the extreme pole along that continuum. This strategy will appear throughout our tour of Psychology’s history. Yet we will try to acknowledge in advance that various prominent views are privileged for various reasons. Truth be known, the field of Psychology actually expresses a plurality of perspectives. It is the position of this manuscript that this very plurality has to do with the notion of development itself and as Psychology has matured, it not only has reflected the changing historical constituencies, the field and its contents have become far more seasoned and increasingly diverse. These different constituencies have reflected the historical tensions within the field at the time they were developed.
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