An Aristotelian Resolution of the Idiographic Versus Nomothetic Tension
Date of Original Version
The 20th century clash between psychologies that emphasize individual differences and those that emphasize general processes grows out of an older philosophical tension between the particular and universal facets of substance. Properly understood, Aristotle's analysis resolves this tension in a way that allows psychology to unify these perspectives on human functioning within a single focus. The key concept used is that of the developmental functional history (DFH) of the individual, the career of material functioning throughout an individual's existence that, among other general laws it follows, must be unique. The DFH is also developmentally cumulative in its effects. Earlier events have more far-reaching consequences on its organization than later ones.
Silverstein, Albert. "An Aristotelian Resolution of the Idiographic Versus Nomothetic Tension." American Psychologist 43, 6 (1988): 425-430. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.43.6.425.