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Issues and Debates – The Philosophy of Psychological Approaches

1. The Philosophy of Psychological Approaches

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In this lecture, we think about the approaches within psychology which have differing philosophical origins, focusing in particular on: (i) how a jury might be divided in the way they assess a crime between considering the ‘bigger picture’ and breaking down each individual factor at play; (ii) four people who have stabbed another person, each with their own ‘excuse’: smokey, clumsy, unlucky and angry. (iii) how the bigger picture vs factor breakdown distinction ties into the holism vs reductionism and free will vs determinism debates; (iv) why the philosophical ideas which underpin psychological research are important.


In this course, Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya (University of Birmingham) explores psychological approaches with a focus on their philosophical bases. In the first lecture, we think about different philosophical views of psychological approaches, specifically free will, determinism, holism, and reductionism. In the second lecture, we think about the free will vs determinism debate, with a specific focus on the determinism aspect. In the third lecture, we think about free will in some more detail, considering whether it can be shown to exist or not exist. Next, we think about the holism vs reductionism debate and their two perspectives on whether objects and outcomes are a sum of their parts. In the fifth and final lecture, we think about some conclusions and controversies in this field, including an explanation for the verdict of guilt for each of the four individuals given in lecture one.


Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. Dr Bouguettaya’s research interests are in social psychology and how knowledge from that field can be applied to others, particularly health, including how we can apply social identity theory to societal problems, as well as investigating the different perspectives one might take on those issues. Some of Dr Bouguettaya’s recent publications include 'The relationship between gambling advertising and gambling attitudes, intentions and behaviours: a critical and meta-analytic review' (2020) and 'The Effect of a Food Addiction Explanation Model for Weight Control and Obesity on Weight Stigma' (2020).

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APA style

Bouguettaya, A. (2022, April 05). Issues and Debates – The Philosophy of Psychological Approaches - The Philosophy of Psychological Approaches [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Bouguettaya, A. "Issues and Debates – The Philosophy of Psychological Approaches – The Philosophy of Psychological Approaches." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Apr 2022,

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