Toward Generative Theory

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Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology


Argues that much contemporary theory lacks generative potency, that is, the capacity to challenge prevailing assumptions regarding the nature of social life and to offer alternatives to contemporary patterns of conduct. This deficit may be traced primarily to the commitment of the field to traditional positivist assumptions that (a) give preeminent weight to "the fact," (b) demand verification of theoretical ideas, (c) encourage disregard for the temporal dependency of social pattern, and (d) recommend dispassionate comportment in scientific affairs. Shortcomings are demonstrated in each of these cases, and the groundwork is laid for developing generative theory, liberated both from the press of immediate fact and the necessity for verification. Such theory may properly function to sustain value commitments and to restructure the character of social life. (85 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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