Towards a Psychology in Shades of Grey. An Epistemological Analysis

Daniele Chiffi


According to Sergio Salvatore’s Psychology as science of the explanandum, there is an urgent need of a rigorous language for the explanandum in psychology. This attitute is what Salvatore calls “psychology in black and white”. In this paper, we point out that the epistemological method of explication may be a good tool for the conceptual clarification of the terms that may work as the explanandum in a psychological explanation. Two forms of explications are presented, Carnap’s explication and Kant’s explication. Differently from Carnap’s explication, Kant’s explication does not necessarily require a process of formalization and, for this reason, it may be much more suitable for clarifying complex psychological terms (possibly difficult to be formalized). Still, formalization in psychology can accomplish a very important task. Abstracting by some aspects of ‘reality’ (e.g., by some of its colours) we can better elucidate the deeper structure of reality (in black and white) and, with sound epistemological methods, we can even imagine (using again Sergio Salvatore’s metaphor of colours) to see reality in shades of grey.


theory-driven; evidence-based; psychopathology; common sense

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Riferimenti bibliografici

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ISSN: 2035-4630, Open-acess, peer-reviewed Journal, Tribunale di Roma 142/09, 04/05/09 - dir. responsabile: G. Colajacomo

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