Dr Jana Uher       



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The Transdisciplinary Philosophy-of-Science Paradigm for Research on Individuals (TPS Paradigm)


1. Foundations and Frameworks
   Research on individuals       Research on individual-specificity - 'personality'
2. Empirical applications of the TPS Paradigm in humans and other species

1. Foundations and Frameworks

Research on individuals 

Philosophical assumptions

The philosophical foundations of the TPS Paradigm are based on complexity theories to consider the peculiarities of individuals as complex living systems. This involves explicit consideration of the principles of self-organisation, emergence and the irreversibility of time, amongst others.

The TPS Paradigm also builds on epistemological complementarity to consider that, by using different methods, ostensibly incompatible information can be obtained about the properties of the same object that are nevertheless all equally essential for an exhaustive account of it. This principle of complementarity is implemented in the paradigm's frameworks in various ways. 

Further central assumptions are based on the idea that science is inseparable from its makers' particular perspectives on their objects of research given their own positions in the world - as humans, members of particular sociocultural and language communities, and as individuals. This entails particular risks for anthropocentric, ethnocentric, and egocentric biases, because researchers studying individuals are not independent of their objects of research. 

Such biases can occur in the phenomena that researchers seek out to explore and the questions they ask about these phenomena (metatheoretical level) as well as in the techniques and practices researchers use to explore them (methodological level)

Publications: Uher (2013, 2015a, 2015d, 2017, 2018a, 2018c).

Metatheoretical foundations

In its metatheoretical framework and based on the premise that all science is made by humans, the TPS Paradigm considers the ways in which humans can perceive phenomena in individuals under everyday life conditions. These ways are described by three metatheoretical properties - internality/externality, temporal extension and spatial extension. 

These three abstract properties are used to metatheoretically define and  differentiate from one another various kinds of phenomena that are studied in individuals. These are the phenomena of morphology (e.g., muscles), physiology (e.g., nerve potentials), behaviour (e.g., vocalising) and the psyche (e.g., thinking, feeling), semiotic representations (e.g., language), artificially modified outer appearance (e.g., clothing) and contexts (e.g., situations). 

Publications: Uher (2015a, 2016a, 2016b).

Methodological foundations of measurement and quantification

In the methodological framework, the three metatheoretical properties are used to explore the foundations of phenomenon - methodology matching and to elaborate novel concepts and perspectives for
  • basic issues of data generation across the sciences
  • measurement and quantification, highlighting fundamental differences between measurement versus assessment and observation versus assessment
  • extroquestion versus introquestion to overcome conceptual limitations of previous concepts of extrospection versus introspection, and
  • nomothetic and ideographic approaches, amongst others.
Publications: Uher (2019, 2018b, 2018c, 2015c).

Microgenetic, ontogenetic and (possible) phylogenetic icrogenetic, ontogenetic and (possible) phylogenetic pathways of development of psychical phenomena

The concepts of the TPS Paradigm have been applied to trace the developmental pathways through which psychical phenomena enable individuals to increasingly become actors of their lives - as single individuals, communities and species. Analyses have explored the fundamental imperceptibility of others' psychical phenomena and the impact that this peculiarity had on the emergence of language and instructed learning, culture, social institutions and societies in the course of human evolution.  

Publications: Uher (2015d).

Further information: researchonindividuals.org