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Lecture 1

PSYC 201W Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Paul Feyerabend, Tabula Rasa, Thomas Kuhn

Course Code
V.Gordon Rose

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Psychology 201W - January 5th, 2018
Methods for acquiring knowledge:
-Intuition: knowing without reasoning (there is no mechanism for separating
correct/incorrect intuitions)
-Authority: facts stated from a respected source, used when you look at other researchers
have done and the designs they used (often authority can be wrong)
-Rationalism: knowledge based on reason, used to drive hypothesis, identify outcomes that
will determine about whether the hypothesis is right/wrong (rationalism is not sufficient by
-Empiricism: knowledge based on experience, used often in science, facts that do not concur
with experience are rejected (John Locke, tabula rasa)- there is a possibility of researcher
bias, research needs to be conducted in controlled environments
Logical Reasoning:
-Induction: specific to general reasoning (when you try to generalize hypothesis or theories,
example for when social loafing was generalized from a specific case)
-Deduction: General to specific reasoning (used in forming hypothesis from a theory, social
loafing was used to conduct a study to realize ways to reduce social loafing - general theory
to a specific conclusion)
Hypothesis Testing: after formulating a hypothesis to explain a phenomenon, compare this to the
results of an experiment, methodology that is associated with the school of logical positivism
(statements that are only meaningful if they are supported by observation, criticized and advocated
for stating hypothesis and then attempting to falsify it)
In practice, psychologists use a combination of verification and falsification
Naturalism: states that science should be studied and evaluated empirically (only based on the
facts) - foundational epistemology (study of knowledge and rationale)
Paradigm: framework of an idea or belief (Thomas Kuhn suggested we look at paradigm shifts, he
argued that science is governed by two types of activities being (1) a science shared paradigm
where everybody believes the same set of theories (2) when evidence starts to accumulates ideas
that do not fit within the paradigm, causing a shift in paradigms)
Paul Feyerabend: proposed ameristic (undifferentiated) theory of science, said there was no such
thing as a method of science (anything goes, scientific knowledge is not better than any other
Science - an approach to developing knowledge, precedes from an area of skepticism that relies on
empirical data based off of observation, peer review and replication are designed to ensure that big
ideas stay relevant and flawed theories will be corrected
- Science makes some basic assumptions; it assumes that there is uniformity in nature and
(1) a determinism that mental processes are fully caused by natural factors and (2)
probabilistic causes, the idea that A does not cause B but can influence it
Reality in Nature: the assumption that the things we see, hear, feel, smell and taste are real
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