Thomas Teo

Last updated
Thomas Teo
Born1963 (age 5556)
London, England
Nationality Canada, UK, Austria (previous)
Alma mater University of Vienna
Main interests
Notable ideas
Psychological humanities, Epistemological violence
Website / Thomas Teo's Home Page

Thomas Teo (born 1963) is a Canadian professor of Historical, Theoretical, and Critical Studies of Psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada. He is a leader in the fields of critical psychology and theoretical psychology.

York University university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

York University is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is Canada's third-largest university. York University has approximately 52,300 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and 295,000 alumni worldwide. It has eleven faculties, including the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Faculty of Science, Lassonde School of Engineering, Schulich School of Business, Osgoode Hall Law School, Glendon College, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Graduate Studies, the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design, and 28 research centres. The Keele campus is also home to a satellite location of Seneca College.

Toronto Provincial capital city in Ontario, Canada

Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the most populous city in Canada, with a population of 2,731,571 in 2016. Current to 2016, the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA), of which the majority is within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), held a population of 5,928,040, making it Canada's most populous CMA. Toronto is the anchor of an urban agglomeration, known as the Golden Horseshoe in Southern Ontario, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A global city, Toronto is a centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.


Academic career

Teo was born in London, England. He earned his Magister and PhD in psychology from the University of Vienna in Austria. From 1992 to 1995 he worked as a post-doctoral fellow and then as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. He started his professorial track at York University in Canada in 1996.

A magister degree is an academic degree used in various systems of higher education.

University of Vienna public university located in Vienna, Austria

The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world. With its long and rich history, the University of Vienna has developed into one of the largest universities in Europe, and also one of the most renowned, especially in the Humanities. It is associated with 20 Nobel prize winners and has been the academic home to a large number of scholars of historical as well as of academic importance.

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

The Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development is an internationally renowned social science research organization. Located in Berlin, it was initiated in 1961 and officially began operations in 1963 under the name Institute for Educational Research in the Max Planck Society, before receiving its current name in 1971. Its co-founder and first director was Hellmut Becker. The institute is part of the Human Sciences Section of the Max Planck Society.

Teo was president of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology (2013–2015), president (2016–2017) of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (Division 24), and twice chair of the History and Philosophy of Psychology Section of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). He is a fellow of APA and CPA. He was editor of the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (2009–2014). He has served as a co-editor of the Review of General Psychology (2009–2014).[ citation needed ]

American Psychological Association scientific and professional organization

The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States, with around 117,500 members including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students. The APA has an annual budget of around $115m. There are 54 divisions of the APA—interest groups covering different subspecialties of psychology or topical areas.

Canadian Psychological Association organization

The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) is the primary organization representing psychologists throughout Canada. It was organized in 1939 and incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act, Part II, in May 1950.

The Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by the American Psychological Association on behalf of APA Division 24. The journal was established in 1986 and "is devoted to fostering discussion at the interface of psychology, philosophy, and metatheory". The current editor-in-chief is Brent D. Slife.

Selected works and thought

Teo is a critical-theoretical psychologist who employs metatheory and history to provide a more reflexive understanding of the foundations and trajectories of current psychology while projecting alternatives to the status quo. His research has argued for psychology becoming a self-reflexive discipline that provides disciplinary and social interventions.

A metatheory or meta-theory is a theory whose subject matter is some theory. All fields of research share some meta-theory, regardless whether this is explicit or correct. In a more restricted and specific sense, in mathematics and mathematical logic, metatheory means a mathematical theory about another mathematical theory.

Critique of psychology

Teo has contributed to critical-theoretical work since his early publications on the history of German Critical Psychology, [1] broadening the concept of critical psychology, integrating various streams of critical thought, including feminism, postcolonialism, social constructionism, political theory, indigenous psychology, and hermeneutics, that were applied to ontological, epistemological, ethical, and more recently aesthetic [2] contexts of psychology. Significant critiques of psychology were investigated in The Critique of Psychology: From Kant to Postcolonial Theory, [3] which was the first book to provide a systematic history of the critique of psychology. As an international leader of critical psychology he edited the Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology. [4] In 2015 he summarized the status of critical psychology in the flagship journal of the APA the American Psychologist. [5]

Critical psychology is a perspective on psychology that draws extensively on critical theory. Critical psychology challenges mainstream psychology and attempts to apply psychological understandings in more progressive ways, often looking towards social change as a means of preventing and treating psychopathology.

Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes. This includes seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.

Postcolonialism or postcolonial studies is the academic study of the cultural legacy of colonialism and imperialism, focusing on the human consequences of the control and exploitation of colonized people and their lands.

Critique of scientific racism and epistemological violence

An important critical project that Teo pursued was the study of racism and scientific racism, some of which was published in German. [6] He worked on racism and mixed race and in a series of articles advanced the meaning of the concept of epistemological violence in empirical research. [7] [8] [9] [10] Epistemological violence is committed when interpretations of empirical data implicitly or explicitly constitute the Other as inferior or problematic, despite the fact that alternative interpretations, equally viable, based on the same results, are available.

Epistemology A branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.

Critical history

Teo’s historical work has drawn on history, with history as a means and not as an end. [11] Connecting the philosophy of psychology with the history of psychology he co-authored A Critical History and Philosophy of Psychology: Diversity of Context, Thought, and Practice. [12] Several historical studies focused on twin research, the history of critical psychology, and the history of German psychology. [13] [14]

Theoretical psychology and psychological humanities

Teo supports the idea of critical psychology as a generative and international movement that provides reflexivity and interference in psychosocial affairs. His latest book Outline of Theoretical Psychology: Critical Investigations [15] discusses basic philosophical problems in the discipline and profession of psychology. By engaging with basic theoretical problems, Teo demonstrates how psychology can avoid its pitfalls and participate as a force for resistance and the good. To do so, Teo has made the argument that psychology needs to draw on the psychological humanities (including history, philosophy, political theory, science and technology studies, etc...) to understand human mental life. [16] He has argued that the development of psychology as a science and the struggle for scientific recognition has disrupted the need to interrogate the discipline and the profession from the critical perspective of the humanities, the arts, and the concept-driven social sciences.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Psychology is the science of behavior and mind, including conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope and diverse interests that, when taken together, seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of epiphenomena they manifest. As a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.

Behaviorism is a systematic approach to understanding the behavior of humans and other animals. It assumes that all behaviors are either reflexes produced by a response to certain stimuli in the environment, or a consequence of that individual's history, including especially reinforcement and punishment, together with the individual's current motivational state and controlling stimuli. Although behaviorists generally accept the important role of inheritance in determining behavior, they focus primarily on environmental factors.

Theoretical psychology is concerned with theoretical and philosophical aspects of psychology. It is an interdisciplinary field with a wide scope of study. It focuses on combining and incorporating existing and developing theories of psychology non-experimentally. Theoretical psychology originated from the philosophy of science, with logic and rationality at the base of each new idea. It existed before empirical or experimental psychology. Theoretical psychology is an interdisciplinary field involving psychologists specializing in a wide variety of psychological branches. There have been a few prominent pioneers of theoretical psychology such as Wilhelm Wundt, William James, Sigmund Freud, and John B. Watson. There has also been a number of notable contributors which include Jerome Kagan, Alan E. Kazdin, Robert Sternberg, Kenneth J. Gergen, and Ulric Neisser. These contributors often publish in a variety of journals including the most prominent for theoretical psychology, the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. Many other organizations are beginning to recognize theoretical psychology as a formal subdivision of psychology.

<i>Psychological Review</i> journal

Psychological Review is a scientific journal that publishes articles on psychological theory. It was founded by Princeton University psychologist James Mark Baldwin and Columbia University psychologist James McKeen Cattell in 1894 as a publication vehicle for psychologists not connected with the Clark laboratory of G. Stanley Hall. Psychological Review soon became the most prominent and influential psychology journal in North America, publishing important articles by William James, John Dewey, James Rowland Angell, and many others.

Daniel N. Robinson American philosopher

Daniel N. Robinson was an American philosopher who was a professor of philosophy at Georgetown University and a fellow of the faculty of philosophy at Oxford University.

Donald T. Campbell American psychologist & scholar

Donald Thomas Campbell was an American social scientist. He is noted for his work in methodology. He coined the term "evolutionary epistemology" and developed a selectionist theory of human creativity. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Campbell as the 33rd most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

<i>American Psychologist</i> journal

American Psychologist is the official peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Psychological Association. The journal publishes timely high-impact articles of broad interest. Papers include empirical reports and scholarly reviews covering science, practice, education, and policy. Current editor-in-chief is Anne E. Kazak, PhD, ABPP.

In epistemology, and more specifically, the sociology of knowledge, reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect, especially as embedded in human belief structures. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional with both the cause and the effect affecting one another in a relationship in which neither can be assigned as causes or effects.

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  1. Teo, Thomas (1998). "Klaus Holzkamp and the rise and decline of German Critical Psychology". History of Psychology. 1 (3): 235–253. doi:10.1037/1093-4510.1.3.235.
  2. Teo, Thomas (2017). "Subjectivity, aesthetics, and the nexus of injustice: From traditional to street art". In Awad, S. H.; Wagoner, B. Street art of resistance. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 39–62. ISBN   9783319633305.
  3. Teo, Thomas (2005). The critique of psychology: From Kant to postcolonial theory. Springer. ISBN   0387253564. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  4. Teo, Thomas (2014). Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology. Springer. ISBN   1461455820. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  5. Teo, Thomas (2015). "Critical psychology: A geography of intellectual engagement and resistance". American Psychologist. 70 (3): 243–254. doi:10.1037/a0038727.
  6. Mecheril, Paul; Teo, Thomas (1997). Psychologie und Rassismus [Psychology and racism]. Reinbek: Rowohlt.
  7. Teo, Thomas (2011). "Empirical race psychology and the hermeneutics of epistemological violence". Human Studies. 34: 237–255. doi:10.1007/s10746-011-9179-8.
  8. Teo, Thomas (2010). "What is epistemological violence in the empirical social sciences?". Social and Personality Psychology Compass. 4 (5): 295–303. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00265.x.
  9. Teo, Thomas (2008). "From speculation to epistemological violence in psychology: A critical-hermeneutic reconstruction". Theory & Psychology. 18 (1): 47–67. doi:10.1177/0959354307086922.
  10. Teo, Thomas (2004). "The historical problematization of "mixed race" in psychological and human-scientific discourses". In Winston, A. Defining difference: Race and racism in the history of psychology. American Psychological Association. pp. 79–108. doi:10.1037/10625-004.
  11. Teo, Thomas (2013). "Agnotology in the dialectics of the history and philosophy of psychology". Theory & Psychology. 23 (6): 840–851. doi:10.1177/0959354313504838.
  12. Walsh, Richard; Teo, Thomas; Baydala, Angelina (2014). A critical history and philosophy of psychology: Diversity of context, thought, and practice. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   1107782694. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  13. Teo, Thomas; Ball, Laura (2009). "Twin research, revisionism, and metahistory". History of the Human Sciences. 22: 1–23. doi:10.1177/0952695109345418.
  14. Teo, Thomas (2013). "Backlash against American psychology: An indigenous reconstruction of the history of German critical psychology". History of Psychology. 16 (1): 1–18. doi:10.1037/a0030286.
  15. Teo, Thomas (2018). Outline of theoretical psychology: Critical investigations. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN   1137596503. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  16. Teo, Thomas (2017). "From psychological science to the psychological humanities: Building a general theory of subjectivity". Review of General Psychology. 21 (4): 281–291. doi:10.1037/gpr0000132.