September 15, 2008

Diverse research paradigms based on differing ontologies, concomitant epistemologies and methodologies

Paradigms of Psychological Knowledge: A Historical & Cross-Cultural Perspective
Teacher: Suneet Varma
BEGINNING 3RD OCTOBER 2008 (duration: 14 weeks) Brief Overview

All knowledge-seeking endeavours can be understood with the help of three issues:
(a) The assumptions about the nature of reality under study (ontology);
(b) the relationship between the knower and that which is to be known (epistemology); and,
(c) the methods to be used for acquiring knowledge (methodology).

In the late 19th century, academic psychology emerged emulating physics, the queen of sciences. The natural science approach served as its model, and psychology aimed at objective, value-free, quantifiable, and generalisable knowledge. From the 1970’s onwards it was increasingly felt that the natural science paradigm did not serve well the goals of psychology. Today the discipline consists of diverse research paradigms based on differing ontologies, and concomitant epistemologies and methodologies. No system of psychology can be complete unless it includes the spiritual dimension of existence, and contemporary psychology has begun to take this profound aspect of existence more seriously. Indian systems of psychological knowledge have for millennia emphasized the essential, spiritual nature of human beings, and the need to integrate the spiritual with everyday life, in order to attain a meaningful and fulfilled existence.

Overall Learning Outcomes of the Course
After completing this course, you will begin to appreciate the multi-dimensional nature of knowledge in general, and psychological knowledge in particular.
You will have a good understanding of the social and political forces which have shaped the discipline of psychology.
You will have an international perspective on the discipline of psychology, and its history.
You will be able to locate spirituality within the framework of psychology.
Psychology will begin to appear as a discipline whose major focus is the complete and optimal development of human beings, leading to higher levels of functioning accompanied by feelings of extraordinary love and joy.
After completing the course you will have a basic understanding of some of the major schools of Indian psychology, viz. - Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism, Sufism, the Yoga system, and the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo.

Course Modules
Three aspects of knowledge paradigms: Ontology, Epistemology, and Methodology
Historical emergence of Psychology as a science: Four paths of scientific Psychology
Positivism, Post-positivism, and the Critical perspective
The Social Constructionist movement in Psychology
Participative Research/Co-operative Enquiry in Psychology
The Existential-Phenomenological and the Indian conception of knowledge
An alternative history of Psychology. Perspectives from non Euro-American backgrounds
Avidya and Vidya as two distinct forms of knowing in the Indian tradition
Self knowledge in the Indian tradition: A selective appraisal
The Integral way of knowledge: Sri Aurobindo's contribution

International Centre for Integral Studies (ICIS) is an educational, not-for-profit trust, located in New Delhi, India. It is a unit of The Gnostic Centre ( ICIS offers online postgraduate level courses in liberal arts through a consciousness perspective, derived largely from the spiritual philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. ICIS is not affiliated to or recognized / approved by any state/ central government statutory bodies or agencies like UGC /AICTE/ UNIVERSITY. All courses are autonomous. ICIS does not award a Degree. For its courses, it offers ICIS postgraduate course certificates.Contact:

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