Commentary #1 on Scientific American Blog on "The Military-Psychology Complex"

The significant and contentious debate in the field of Anthropology has been primarily about observation-with-influence as opposed to observation-without-influence, the latter being a hallmark of that branch of scholarship. The helping professions (including but not limited to Clinical Psychology) are first and foremost about influence, thus the deliberations within and about their involvement with military populations cannot meaningfully be compared to those in the field of Anthropology. The experimental branches of the behavioral and social sciences lie somewhere in between, and their struggle with research on military populations is mostly about threats to validity of observations and interpretations. All these branches of science are associated with diverse communities of practice that, as such, have a spectrum of individual existential commitments and socio-political beliefs about the implications of the constitutional role of a military. While not easily separable at the level of individuals, socio-political beliefs and existential commitments should not be confused with debates over scientific or clinical methodology at the level of diverse communities of practice.

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Gary Riccio

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