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Analyses of Theories and Methods of Physics and Psychology

Analyses of Theories and Methods of Physics and Psychology

Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 1970
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 452
  • Book Info
    Analyses of Theories and Methods of Physics and Psychology
    Book Description:

    Analyses of Theories and Methods of Physics and Psychology was first published in 1970. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. This is Volume IV of the Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, a series published in cooperation with the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Minnesota and edited by Herbert Feigl and Grover Maxwell. Dr. Feigl was the director of the Center. In a preface to the first volume in the series, Professors Feigl and Michael Scriven noted the extensive concern of the Center with “the meaning of theoretical concepts as defined by their locus in the ‘nomological net’ and the related rejection of the reductionist forms of operationism and positivism.” In this volume, several contributors are again concerned with philosophical, logical, and methodological problems of psychology. As before, some papers deal with broad philosophical issues, others with more specific problems of method or interpretation. However, a deep concern for logical and methodological problems of special relevance to the physical sciences is reflected in a number of essays. The contents are arranged in two sections, the first part being based on the papers and discussion from a conference held at the Center on the problems of correspondence rules. Contributors are Herbert Feigl, Paul K. Feyerabend, N.R. Hanson, Carl G. Hempel, Mary Hesse, Grover Maxwell, and William Rozeboom. The second group of essays, by various members of the staff of the Center and some of its visitors, reflects current issues and controversies of great interest. The contributors are William Demopoulos, Keith Gunderson, Paul E. Meehl (three essays), and Michael Radner._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3822-6
    Subjects: General Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)

    • The “Orthodox” View of Theories: Remarks in Defense as well as Critique
      (pp. 3-16)

      The purpose of the following remarks is to present in outline some of the more important features of scientific theories. I shall discuss the “standard” or “orthodox” view, mainly in order to set up a target for criticisms, some of which I shall briefly sketch by way of anticipation. The standard account of the structure of scientific theories was given quite explicitly by Norman R. Campbell [7], as well as independently in a little-known article by R. Carnap [12]. A large part of the voluminous literature in the philosophy of science of the logical empiricists and related thinkers contains, though...

    • Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge
      (pp. 17-130)

      The following essay has been written in the conviction that anarchism, while perhaps not the most attractive political philosophy, is certainly an excellent foundation for epistemology, and for the philosophy of science.

      The reason is not difficult to find.

      “History generally, and the history of revolutions in particular, is always richer in content, more varied, more manysided, more lively and ‘subtle’ than even” the best historian and the best methodologist can imagine.¹* “Accidents and conjunctures, and curious juxtapositions of events”² are the very substance of history, and the “complexity of human change and the unpredictable character of the ultimate consequence...

    • A Picture Theory of Theory Meaning
      (pp. 131-141)
      N. R. HANSON

      The standard view of scientific theories that Herbert Feigl has pictorially set out here is very helpful in some respects. It is a representation of a scientific theory and the role that it plays with respect to the over-all scientific activity in terms of the syntactical calculus of a theory, the observation statements, and the correspondence rules (the coordinating definitions). What has sometimes been characterized as the ideal language conception of the function of a scientific theory and, on the other hand, what has sometimes been characterized as the black box conception of a scientific theory—both stand out in...

    • On the “Standard Conception” of Scientific Theories
      (pp. 142-163)

      Theories, it is generally agreed, are the keys to the scientific understanding of empirical phenomena: to claim that a given kind of phenomenon is scientifically understood is tantamount to saying that science can offer a satisfactory theoretical account of it.¹

      Theories are normally constructed only when prior research in a given field has yielded a body of knowledge that includes empirical generalizations or putative laws concerning the phenomena under study. A theory then aims at providing a deeper understanding by construing those phenomena as manifestations of certain underlying processes governed by laws which account for the uniformities previously studied, and...

    • An Inductive Logic of Theories
      (pp. 164-180)

      In their contributions to this volume, Professors Hempel and Feigl have both discussed the “layer-cake” model of scientific theories from the point of view of the meaning and interpretation of theoretical language. The problem of interpretation has also concerned Professor Maxwell, and he has in addition mentioned the problem of confirmation of theories, but only to assert that this is wholly independent of and irrelevant to the problem of meaning. It is this last assertion of independence that I wish to question in this paper. I believe that the problem of theoretical inference or confirmation is insoluble in terms of...

    • Structural Realism and the Meaning of Theoretical Terms
      (pp. 181-192)

      A theory, in the sense used in this paper, is a set of statements some of which both refer to unobservables and are capable of functioning essentially in the derivation from the theory of statements that are observationally decidable. Theories will be considered to be semantically autonomous; this means that there will be no (metalinguistic) rules whose function is to relate unobservables to observables (e.g., by relating theoretical terms to observation terms). This requirement amounts to the same as Carnap’s later practice of eliminating “correspondence rules” (“C-rules”) in favor of C-postulates (and, we might add, C-theorems). Such a C-statement is...

    • Notes on Feyerabend and Hanson
      (pp. 193-195)

      I should like to make some very schematic points, largely about Feyerabend’s views, in part about Hanson’s, with a view to raising certain fundamental questions.¹

      Feyerabend asks us to consider a case in which there are two incompatible theories T and T′, from which, respectively, C and C′ are derivable and are, in the language of T, observationally indistinguishable. In addition, another observational proposition M is derivable from T′ but not from T. We are to suppose that M is true, from which we are to conclude, in this context, that T is refuted. Let us concede the case and...

    • The Crisis in Philosophical Semantics
      (pp. 196-219)

      While concern for the nature of theoretical concepts, so prominent in the recent history of philosophical inquiry, is currently at ebb, this is much less the quiescence of achieved consensus than it is an exhaustion of nerve. To be sure, the positivistic thesis that theoretical terms are cognitively meaningful only where they are equivalent to observational constructs is now dead and past mourning. But its execution and burial has exacted so severe a toll in analytic energies that little heart remains to acknowledge that this essentially negative achievement has left as obscure as ever what the cognitive properties of theoretical...

    • Discussion at the Conference on Correspondence Rules
      (pp. 220-260)

      Hanson: It seems to me that Professor Hempel was twisting a little bit when he made that reference to every use of a ruler giving rise to a different conception from every other use of a ruler. Surely what is at stake is not the fact that one chap might use a Hooke-type spring scale and another an Archimedes beam balance, but rather that the techniques are so different as to actually make us justify the entire undertaking in terms of quite different conceptual frameworks. For example, what happens when you weigh yourself in the morning in the bathroom on...


    • On the Relation of Topological to Metrical Structure
      (pp. 263-272)

      In his inaugural dissertation, Riemann emphasized the distinction between the topology of space, which, for him, meant its continuity or discreteness, and its geometry.¹ Taking the topology as essential, he convincingly argued that the concept of a continuous space does not, by itself, imply a particular geometry, and that therefore the nature of the geometry of space involves physical considerations. This thesis he expressed by the assertion that metrical relations are not implicit in the concept of a continuum, though they are implicit in the concept of a discretum.²

      Professor Grünbaum has argued that the ideas of Riemann’s inaugural dissertation...

    • Asymmetries and Mind-Body Perplexities
      (pp. 273-309)

      Any satisfactory solution to the mind-body problem must include an account of why the so-called “I,” “subjective self,” or “self as subject of experiences” seems so adept at slipping through the meshes of every nomological net of physical explanations which philosophers have been able to imagine science someday bestowing upon them.¹ Until this agility on the part of the self is either curtailed or shown to be ontologically benign, not forcing us to attribute inexplicable properties to our self-consciousness or consciousness of self, the mind-body problem is not going to go away. Unless the self itself, however characterized, can be...

    • Psychological Determinism and Human Rationality: A Psychologist’s Reactions to Professor Karl Popper’s “Of Clouds and Clocks”
      (pp. 310-372)

      In the Second Arthur Holly Compton Memorial Lecture, engagingly titled “Of Clouds and Clocks,” Sir Karl Popper addresses himself to a long-familiar problem about psychological determinism, indicated by the lecture’s subtitle, “An Approach to the Problem of Rationality and the Freedom of Man.”¹ The lecture treats of several interconnected themes, ontological, historical, and methodological. I want to emphasize that the present paper is in no sense an “attack” on the lecture as a whole, which abounds with the usual Popper stimulation and perspicuity, and from which I have learned much. Some of the interpretation (e.g., the indeterministic features of classical...

    • Nuisance Variables and the Ex Post Facto Design
      (pp. 373-402)

      In a recent important contribution Kahneman¹ has pointed out a psychometric difficulty in the use of matched groups, analysis of covariance, and partial correlation as methods of holding constant the influence of a variable which we cannot control experimentally. Anyone acquainted with psychological and sociological literature will surely agree with Kahneman’s initial sentence, “Spurious correlations and confounding variables present a characteristic and recurrent problem to the social scientist.” The particular aspect of this many-faceted problem with which Kahneman deals is the fact of statistical “undercorrection” which arises from imperfect reliability in measuring the variable to be controlled. The literature abounds...

    • Some Methodological Reflections on the Difficulties of Psychoanalytic Research
      (pp. 403-416)

      Being here in the somewhat ill-defined role of a “methodologist” with psychoanalytic experience, I shall first make a few general comments reflecting my own views on philosophy of science. Since it is impossible to develop or defend them in a brief presentation, let me simply say that these views accord generally with the consensus of those who claim expertise—if such exists, as I believe—in that field. That they are not widely accepted in psychology reflects a failure to keep up with developments, many psychologists espousing a philosophical position that is some thirty years out-of-date.

      Whatever the verisimilitude¹ of...

    • Popper and Laplace
      (pp. 417-428)

      This paper is designed as a consideration of one pattern of escape from the classic Laplacian determinism. The most convenient representation of the anti-Laplacianism that I am concerned with is Sir Karl Popper’s 1965 lecture “Of Clouds and Clocks: An Approach to the Problem of Rationality and the Freedom of Man.”¹ However, before embarking on an examination of Popper, I shall briefly review Laplace’s standpoint.

      Let us go back for a moment to the text of Laplace’sA Philosophical Essay on Probabilities.² At the start of chapter II, Laplace asserts that all events, including the actions of the will, follow...

  5. Name Index
    (pp. 431-436)
  6. Subject Index
    (pp. 437-441)