Coaching philosophy, eclecticism and positivism: A commentary

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The relationships between coaching, sports psychology, psychotherapy, and philosophy outlined by Simon Jenkins in his keynote article highlight a central issue in the social sciences, that is, the need to explicate the link between theory and practice. The article reflects a dilemma in the whole of the applied social sciences; the self-conscious need to look scientific while being inquisitive of people as social beings. Philosophy has long engaged with this problem and, as Jenkins suggests, does provide some meta-frameworks from which to make sense of the dilemma. The psychotherapy integration movement is an example of a discipline trying to forge an understanding of how it can merge hard science with social science. However, this is a task designed for trouble as it requires a rapprochement between different ontologies. Kuhn provided a strong argument to support the view that different worldviews are difficult although not impossible to compare because they do not use the same language or measuring tools, that is, the same ontological assumptions. Philosophers like Kuhn [1], Feyerabend [2], and Pepper [3] argued that the lack of common ontological assumptions between worldviews or the “incommensurability of paradigms” also makes it difficult to compare theories arising from different worldviews.


School of Psychology

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Journal Article

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ERA Access