Reconsidering Paul Meehl’s disciplinary legacy

A new article of interest to AHP readers is now available in Social and Personality Psychology Compass: “Reconsidering Paul Meehl’s disciplinary legacy” by Ian J. Davidson. Abstract:

In pursuing paths to methodological reform, many have drawn on the prolific work of American psychologist-philosopher Paul Meehl. In 1996, the APA awarded both Meehl and controversial German-British psychologist Hans Eysenck with Clinical Psychologists of the Century Awards. Two years earlier, they had both signed the “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” statement published in reaction to controversy over research on intelligence and race. To better understand Meehl’s decision to include his name in that public statement, this article first explores the philosophy and politics of Karl Popper as it relates to the incompatible views of Meehl and Eysenck on the value of psychoanalysis. Despite their stark differences of opinion on psychoanalysis and psychometrics, Meehl and Eysenck shared a vision of scientific psychology with overlapping political values that, consequently, included a commitment to the liberties of race science. This article suggests that interrogating the politics and ethics of research is a crucial aspect of doing human science well, including improving its methodology.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.