Nini Praetorius (2002) Practical and Theoretical Consequences of the Principles of Cognition, Language and Action.. Psycoloquy: 13(022) Cognition Action (7)

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PSYCOLOQUY (ISSN 1055-0143) is sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA).

PRACTICAL AND THEORETICAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE PRINCIPLES OF COGNITION, LANGUAGE AND ACTION.
Reply to Siiner and Hermann on Praetorius on Cognition-Action

Nini Praetorius
Department of Psychology
University of Copenhagen
Njalsgade 88
DK - 2300 Copenhagen S
Denmark

nini.praetorius@psy.ku.dk

Abstract

In my reply to Siiner and Hermann I hope to make clear that although the principles argued for in my book may guide psychology in determining what KIND of questions we may meaningfully ask about our cognition, language and action - and hope to answer - by empirical psychological investigations, neither the principles nor their implications may in themselves serve as answers to these questions in advance of such investigations.

Keywords

Psychological Theorising, Empirical Psychological Investigations, The Science of Psychology.
1. Siiner's and Hermann's review of my book consist of an interpretation of what to them seems to be its "most challenging insights". In the last resort, interpretations are always personal. I appreciate their attempt, but occasionally find it difficult to recognise points to which I am laying claim. In particular, I find it difficult to see how any of the principles argued for in the book may provide clarification of, let alone answers to practical issues, such as those listed in the final paragraphs of Siiner's and Hermann's review (paragraphs 34 - 37). As already pointed out in the Precis, it is the aim of the book to clarify assumptions of an epistemological and ontological nature about the relation between the cognition, description and action of persons, and the material and social reality that this cognition and description concern and in which our action is carried out. Assumptions, so I argue, which have to be take for granted AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE, and which may form a consistent foundation of principles on which to base research and theorizing within a science of psychology. If correct, I contend that these principles may guide psychology in determining what kind of questions we may MEANINGFULLY ask - and hope to answer by empirical psychological research - about the perception, cognition, use of language and actions of persons, and hence what KINDS of scientific psychological theories it may - or may not - make sense to develop about such issues. However, neither these principles, nor any of their consequences may in themselves serve as answers to these question IN ADVANCE of psychological investigations. The question e.g. of when or if to introduce "parallel teaching" of both mother tongue and second language into the educational curriculum of migrant children in order to further their integration in a new culture, is a very complicated issue requiring not only empirical investigations but also ideological clarification. Regarding such investigations and clarification, I believe, the jury is still out.

REFERENCES

Praetorius, N. (2000). Principles of Cognition, Language and Action. Essays on the Foundations of a Science of Psychology. Dordrecht/London/New York: Kluwer Academic Press.

Praetorius, N. (2001). Precis of "Principle of Cognition, Language and Action. PSYCOLOQUY12 (027). http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/psyc-bin/newpsy?12.027

Siiner, M. and Hermann, J. (2002) An Unravelling of Principles We all have to use. Book Review of Praetorius on Cognition-Action. PSYCOLOQUY 13(019). http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/psyc-bin/newpsy?13.019


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