Volume 10, 2005
Lawrence T. Nichols
Integralism and Positive Psychology: a Comparison of Sorokin and Seligman
Pitirim A. Sorokin’s Integralism, which advocates the synthesis of the truths of faith, of reason, and of the senses, accords well with traditional Christian and Catholic approaches to the philosophy of science. Sorokin’s writings on this topic include a prophetic dimension, in which Sorokin argues that social scientists would soon abandon the dominant but moribund paradigm of the Sensate cultural supersystem, and seek a new approach based on Integralist principles. Recently, in the field of psychology, a movement calling itself “Positive Psychology” has appeared, which likewise calls for a fundamental reorientation of
its professional discipline. This paper examines the emerging model of Positive Psychology, especially as articulated in the works of two of its main proponents, Martin E. Seligman and Christopher Peterson, in order to determine the extent to which it is congruent with Sorokin’s Integralism, and thus the extent to which it might contribute to a reformed social science that recognizes an explicitly spiritual dimension of human personality, human behavior and social order.