Over the years, a multitude of taboos regarding mental health and the practice of psychology have been broken down. Thanks to this, new and effective lines of research have been developed that promote psychology and position it at the same level as many other health sciences.
However, What makes psychology a science? What are your theories based on? Is it a pseudoscience or does it have a reliable methodology? There are many questions that surround the practice of psychology. For this reason, we want to carefully analyze all the factors that intervene when establishing whether a branch of knowledge is science or not. Next, in this Psychology-Online article, we will tell you the whole truth.
Is psychology a science? Read on and find out.
- What is science: definition and characteristics
- Psychology as a Science
- Is psychology a science or a pseudoscience?
What is science: definition and characteristics.
Before solving the doubt about whether psychology is a science or not, it is important to define exactly what science is. What characteristics must a discipline have to be considered a science?
To answer this question, we go back to the definition of science made by ancient civilizations. Greece: thinkers such as Aristotle or Thales of Miletus promoted reasoning through observation and experimentation. However, at that time, philosophical knowledge and scientific merged (in fact, science is considered to be one of the types of philosophical knowledge), so that the current definition of science is quite far from its origin.
Definition of science
From latin scientĭa which means "knowledge", is the set of knowledge possessed by humanity about the physical and spiritual world, its laws and its application to human activity for the improvement of the lifetime
In addition, science is considered to be knowledge obtained through observation and experimentation in very specific fields.
Classification of the sciences
Today, there are many branches based on scientific research. In order to classify them, we must base ourselves on their nature and objectives. The classification chosen in this article is the following:
- Factual or factual sciences: based on direct observation and empiricism, the objects studied are material and the main factual sciences They are: the natural sciences (physics, chemistry and biology) and the social sciences (sociology, psychology, economics, politics...)
- Formal Sciences: They use the deductive method, all their criteria are deduced from theorems or postulates. The main formal sciences are philosophical (logic and dialectics) and mathematics (practical mathematics and logic)
Psychology as a science.
Now that we know everything we need to know about the definition and characteristics of science, it is time to open the debate: Is or is not psychology a science?
On the one hand, according to some classifications, we could affirm that, indeed, psychology is a science, more specifically a social science.
According to Kedrov, the social or human sciences are the set of studies that deal with people and society, which differ from natural sciences by the practical application of laws or theories scientific.
On the other hand, there are currents that affirm the following: science is fundamentally based on questioning through observation. These questions or questions lead us to a hypothesis and, through experimentation, we can test and find an answer to these questions. Scientific disciplines, on the other hand, apply the knowledge emerged through the scientific method and other non-scientific methodologies (such as psychoanalysis). So we can say that psychology is not a science, rather, it is a scientific discipline.
What kind of science is psychology?
As we have been affirming throughout this section, psychology is normally considered to be a social science. However, with the advancement of new technologies and research in the health fields, there are many branches of psychology that can be classified within the Health Sciences.
- Clinical psychology, for example, aims to develop theories, methods and tools to be able to observe, understand, prevent and treat all kinds of mental disorders. All this, based on scientific studies and models.
Is psychology a science or a pseudoscience?
Returning to Kedrov's book, society is considered a continuation of nature, and that is why the social sciences include the analysis of natural assumptions. In fact, Marx pointed out the natural basis of a whole series of social categories making fields such as sociology or politics, branches of science.
For this reason and for all the reasons defined throughout this article, we can affirm that psychology, or is it a science, or it can be defined as a scientific discipline.
Unfortunately, in the practice of psychology there is a large volume of labor intrusionThis translates into many people practicing psychotherapy but without having the necessary training or skills to be a good psychologist. Occupational intrusion can be observed in consultations for alternative therapies, coaching, mentoring, spirituality and other pseudosciences that, although their efficacy is not denied, they do not have empirical or demonstrable bases under the scientific eye.
Conclusions: is it or is it not a science?
Through this bibliographic analysis, we can determine the following conclusions in reference to our initial question "Is psychology a science?":
- The study of the human mind has evolved and developed in a very broad way
- For their analytical and empirical characteristics, we can consider that psychology is either a science or a scientific discipline. Depending on the study prism.
- Today, there are many branches of psychology, some are considered social sciences and other health sciences. Both coexist and can help in the therapeutic process.
- If there are many people who consider that psychology is useless or a fraud, it is usually because of the labor intrusion wave lack of training of those responsible for carrying out psychotherapy.
This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.
If you want to read more articles similar to Is psychology a science?, we recommend that you enter our category of Clinical psychology.
- MOLINER, María; MOLINER, Marbia. Dictionary of spanish use. Madrid: Gredos, 1998.
- Dictionary of the royal academy of the Spanish language
- KEDROV, Bonifati Mikhailovich. Classification of the sciences. 1974.
- Information extracted from a reflection by Martínez, A. Medical student (2019).
- See C. Marx and F. Engels, Works, 2 * ed. Russian, t. 31, p. 209.