Restoring the Human in Humanistic Psychology
AbstractPositivistic psychologies marginalize transcendent human values by reducing them to by-products of naturalistic mechanisms. One result is a depersonalized and depersonalizing psychology. Humanistic psychology reasserted transcendental values and made them the central motives of its theory of human behavior. However, humanistic psychology shared the core secularizing assumptions of positivism in locating transcending values as “inner” impulses and instincts rather than as experiences of real participation in the transcendent order toward which they aimed. Lacking an understanding of a real reference point outside the self, humanistic psychology tended to divinize the self and its higher values, minimizing as it did so the infrahuman and societal conditions of the self. To contribute to a truly human psychology, the radical critique of positivist reductionism that began with humanistic psychology can only move forward by taking seriously the realities indicated by the human experiences of participation in embodied, social, and transcendent being.