Breaking the arrows of causality: The idea of catalysis in its making

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Abstract

Theoretical models of catalysis have proven to bring with them major breakthroughs in chemistry and biology, from the 1830s onward. It can be argued that the scientific status of chemistry has become established through the move from causal to catalytic models. Likewise, the central explanatory role of cyclical models in biology has made it possible to move from the idea of genetic determination to that of epigenetic negotiation as the core of biological theory. In psychology, catalytic thinking has been outside of the realm of accepted scientific schemes, as the axiomatic dependence upon the General Linear Model continues to dominate. Basic history of the idea of catalysis is outlined in this chapter, and the need to overcome the use of simple cause–effect notions in psychology is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe catalyzing mind: Beyond models of causality
EditorsKenneth R. Cabell, Jaan Valsiner
Number of pages15
PublisherSpringer VS
Publication date2014
Pages17-32
Chapter2
ISBN (Print)978-1-4614-8820-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
SeriesAnnals of Theoretical Psychology
Volume11

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