John Dewey’s Critical Anticipations of Personality Psychology


  • Brad Piekkola Vancouver Island University.



person-situation debate, person-environment mutualism, organicism, contextualization


A brief introduction to the developmental history of personality psychology is given. Two trends, the clinical, holistic approach and the experimental, elemental approach, lay the foundation for issues that would confront the field into the present. While the accepted mandate has been the study of the whole person, the experimental paradigm has been hegemonic. Emphasis has been placed on knowledge of individual differences across variety of abstract constructs. The person and the situation, two central concepts, have been decreed independent, alternative, competing factors in accounting for individual conduct. John Dewey’s psychology, based on organicism and personenvironment mutualism, is presented as challenging basic assumptions and theories of personality psychology. For Dewey, personality is a product of individuals being incorporated into the sociocultural milieu that is their life context, and from which they cannot be disengaged. Kritische Psychologie is discussed as sympathetic to some of Dewey’s propositions.

Author Biography

Brad Piekkola, Vancouver Island University.

Brad Piekkola is currently an Honorary Research Associate with Vancouver Island University (VIU). He received a MA in Cognitive Psychology (1987) and a PhD. in Personality/Theoretical Psychology (1990) at the University of Victoria. His PhD dissertation, Personality theory: Beyond interactionism was a theoretical assessment of major issues in personality psychology. From 1989, until his retirement in 2015, he taught courses in the History of Psychology, Personality, Cognitive, and Theoretical Psychology at VIU. He is the author of Conceptual and Historical issues in Psychology: SAGE, 2017




How to Cite

Piekkola, B. (2021). John Dewey’s Critical Anticipations of Personality Psychology. International Review of Theoretical Psychologies, 1(1).