Special Topic Introduction

Empirical Research in Transpersonal Psychology, Part 2


A number of scholars well known within transpersonal psychology appear to be converging on open scientific naturalism as a philosophically and methodologically fruitful framework for transpersonal and related fields. This builds on the nascent open naturalism evidenced in the early years of transpersonal psychology, before it entered its metaphysical phase (ca. 1975 to 2000). Since it is necessary for science to assume some kind of world within which it is possible to do science, and not every aspect of that assumed world can be subjected to processes of empirical investigation, some of these necessary background assumptions are unavoidably metaphysical. However, the fact that these are unavoidable does not justify the insertion of foreground metaphysical explanations for psychological or spiritual phenomena. Rather than attempting to broaden psychology by adding metaphysics, an open scientific naturalism can make it more inclusive and more scientific by disputing metaphysically based disbeliefs based on specifically Western background reality assumptions.

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