In accordance with Windelband’s original proposal, the notions of nomothetic and idiographic are complementary terms, rather than an oppositional dyad. Given their dynamic and field-dependent nature, psychological phenomena are inherently unique―the relationship between their way of being and their constant becoming is mediated by the contingent conditions of the field. Therefore, science cannot be anything but idiographic―always facing a new unique event―while it is aimed at producing general knowledge of the nomothetic kind out of the ever- changing processes that unfold through irreversible time. The uniqueness of psychological phenomena makes it unfeasible for science to rely exclusively on inductive generalization that works through accumulation of empirical evidence provided by aggregated collections of specimens either within a single case (accumulation over time) or by assuming equivalence of exemplars across single cases subsumed under the same general class (a category viewed as a population). Abductive generalization can be a solution to the class-individuals relationship problem as it allows characterizing the dynamics of the unique case while it arrives at generalization.

Between the General and the Unique: Overcoming the Nomothetic versus Idiographic Opposition / Salvatore, S.; Valsiner, J.. - In: THEORY & PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 0959-3543. - 20(2010), pp. 1-18. [10.1177/0959354310381156]

Between the General and the Unique: Overcoming the Nomothetic versus Idiographic Opposition

S. Salvatore;
2010

Abstract

In accordance with Windelband’s original proposal, the notions of nomothetic and idiographic are complementary terms, rather than an oppositional dyad. Given their dynamic and field-dependent nature, psychological phenomena are inherently unique―the relationship between their way of being and their constant becoming is mediated by the contingent conditions of the field. Therefore, science cannot be anything but idiographic―always facing a new unique event―while it is aimed at producing general knowledge of the nomothetic kind out of the ever- changing processes that unfold through irreversible time. The uniqueness of psychological phenomena makes it unfeasible for science to rely exclusively on inductive generalization that works through accumulation of empirical evidence provided by aggregated collections of specimens either within a single case (accumulation over time) or by assuming equivalence of exemplars across single cases subsumed under the same general class (a category viewed as a population). Abductive generalization can be a solution to the class-individuals relationship problem as it allows characterizing the dynamics of the unique case while it arrives at generalization.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1321044
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