Confronting the limits of knowledge in psychology: The life, death, and rebirth of the psychological sciences

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy

Subject Categories



College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Garcia, Elenita dlR.

Defense Panel Chair

Rolando Gripaldo

Defense Panel Member

Robert Roleda
Ferdinand Tablan
Florentino Timbreza
Juan Rafael Macaranas


Critical emancipatory reflection leads to a suspicion on the use of metanarratives in mainstream psychological discourse. Metanarratives have breed marginalization in the context of power struggles by the status quo to maintain their privileged position within society and the scientific community of psychology. And thus, accounts of politicized ideological enmity have characterized the economics of psychological research dissemination. Following Lyotard's notion of incredulity towards metanarratives, the paper explicates the necessitated deconstructibility of knowledge in the psychological sciences from an East-West comparative perspective. Comparisons were drawn among the frameworks of deconstruction, postmodernism, Zen Buddhism, and Chinese Taoism. In doing so, the author presents the limits of knowledge in psychological discourse given the language games that permeate both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Moreover, the impermanence of the self consequently impacts epistemic endeavors meant to understand the self. In effect, hermeneutical difficulties render the epistemic foundations of psychology towards ambiguity and impermanence. It is within the absence of a singular and absolute interpretation of the self that eventually one has to confront the limits of knowledge in the psychological sciences. The fluidity of the self accounts for the fluidity of knowledge in the psychological sciences. Correlatively, though the postmodern condition may have been characterized as a nihilistic demise, the author argues that the use of a dogma concurs the assimilation of polaristic extremes such as pluralism and dogmatism amongst psychological texts. Understanding the context of power, ambiguity, and impermanence of knowledge rightfully situates the interrelationship between deconstruction and psychology. Quintessentially therefore, pedagogical implications in the transmittance of knowledge in psychology should not be left unturned. Imparting knowledge in the psychological sciences should be re-evaluated vis-a-vis the postmodern condition. The author proposes that the end goal of present pedagogies should work towards achieving a joyful psychology wherein scholars sojourn in joyful confusion as a response to the possible political maneuverings within the field. And perhaps someday, contribute to the emergence of a new generation of psychologists that espouse open-mindedness and tolerance for varying ideologies.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

160 numb. leaves ; 28 cm.


Psychology; Knowledge; Theory of; Philosophy

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