Discussions of the epistemological foundations of psychology reflect two prominent positions, one invoking the causal-explanatory claims of the Piagetian tradition and the other the hermeneutic-interpretive claims of the Vygotskian tradition. Both traditions need to be placed in their wider philosophical contexts. The danger of causally explaining the cultural practices by which human beings construct and understand the meanings of their world is to reduce their complexity – to narrow down a great variety of interpretive strategies to one mode of thought. This mode – to a large degree defined by the modernist episteme – has been challenged by the hermeneutic options of the Vygotskian approach.

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