Narrative Psychology: The Storied Nature of Human Conduct

By Theodore R. Sarbin | Go to book overview

2
Narrative Form and
the Construction of
Psychological Science

Kenneth J. Gergen and Mary M. Gergen


THE VANISHING OBJECT IN THEORETICAL ACCOUNTS

The present chapter is concerned with the ways in which scientific understanding is governed by nonobjective factors. In particular we wish to explore the ways in which literary conventions serve to fashion the theories of science. Of focal interest is the importance of narrative form in theoretical constructions. To appreciate the argument more fully let us begin with an overview of the present status of scientific metatheory. For many years empiricist metatheory has served as the major rationale for scientific procedure. This metatheory holds that theories about the world can be formulated and constrained on the basis of systematic observation. By rigorously employing systematic empirical procedures, it was believed, one could emerge with theoretical maps to successfully guide one's actions in the world. However, this compelling promise of early empiricism depended on the justification of several major premises. As this attempt at justification has proceeded, it has been found that at least one of these critical premises, rather than garnering the necessary

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