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Human uniqueness explored from the uniquely human perspective: Epistemological and methodological challenges

Human uniqueness explored from the uniquely human perspective: Epistemological and methodological challenges

Uher, Jana ORCID: 0000-0003-2450-4943 (2020) Human uniqueness explored from the uniquely human perspective: Epistemological and methodological challenges. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 50 (1). pp. 20-24. ISSN 0021-8308 (Print), 1468-5914 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12232)

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Abstract

Exploring human uniqueness encounters fundamental challenges because we can approach this endeavour only from within our uniquely human perspective. The intrinsic presumptions that this involves may entail two types of anthropocentric, ethnocentric, and egocentric biases, which can influence research on both epistemological and methodological levels. Their impact may be particularly pronounced if quests for the origins of human sociality are based only on our knowledge about humans. Tomasello's (2019) research demonstrates that the comparative study of humans and nonhuman species offers unique opportunities to explore forms of social cooperation, underlying cognitive and meta‐cognitive abilities as well as pathways in their ontological and (possible) phylogenetic development. It also shows that comparative approaches are essential to unravel the ways in which humans are indeed unique. But species comparisons are challenged by the need to consider inherent trade‐offs between achieving operational comparability in empirical studies and establishing ecological validity for the species compared—challenges, which analogously occur in comparisons across human cultures as well. This shows that comparative research can also contribute meaningfully to methodology development in psychology.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: comparative psychology; species comparisons; epistemology; methodology; human uniqueness; behaviour
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2020 10:27
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/26677

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