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PSYC397 MidtermNotes.docx

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PSYC 397
Bill Racz

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Unit 1 Notes:
In terms of two scientific theories clashing with each other to explain phenomena, an
example of reduction is Mendelian genetics to molecular genetics.
Popper’s demarcation criterion of falsifiability runs into two difficulties. One of which is
the fact that scientific theories actually compete with each other as well as with nature.
A somewhat controversial aspect of Thomas Kuhn’s picture of science is the idea that
science can undergo radical change in short periods of time resulting in “revolutions” of
According to Thomas Kuhn, most eras in science are dominated by a single
Weltanschauung called a paradigm.
According to Karl Popper, a discipline that claims to be a science is really a
pseudoscience like astrology if it offers no refutable predictions.
When in the development of science an old theory's laws are found to be explainable in
terms of the laws of a more basic theory, then the latter theory has reduced the former.
The View From Nowhere argues that, “Science describes the natural world with soul-
consciousness, and subjectivity subtracted. Science describes the natural world as it is
from no perspective, as if there were no people in it at all”.
If a scientist believes that his or her theory may actually be true, then he or she is a
While the conceptual foundations of psychology came from philosophy, the inspiration
for the creation of an independent science of psychology came from biology.
Whig histories of science are typically internalist, seeing science as self-contained
disciplines solving well-defined problems by the rational use of the scientific method and
unaffected by social/historical events.
Isaac Newton’s critics argued that he never explained how gravity actually worked.
Newton’s response was “Hypotheses non fingo”, which essentially means, “I do not feign
One innovative aspect of T. S. Kuhns analysis of science was that it stressed the social
nature of science.
The New History of Psychology utilizes more primary sources and attempts to
understand issues at they appeared in the context of the time, the history from above &
below, and is more critical, contextual and inclusive than it is ceremonial.
The Historian Thomas Kuhn proposed the concept of a paradigm among scientists.
Paradigms can provide scientists with assumptions about the nature of reality, influence
and shape how scientists view the world, and provide a blueprint that will guide
experimental procedures.
Like Wittgenstein, the Weltanschauung approach to science views science as being a
form of life.
According to the semantic approach to theories, scientific theory is not directly about the
real world. It is really about an idealized model of the world.
When two scientific theories clash over their ability to explain some phenomena there are
two possible outcomes. One of these outcomes is when one theory is right and the other
is wrong and the wrong theory is discarded. This outcome is known as replacement.
The best example of an operational definition is intelligence is a score on an IQ test.
Explanation is not a primary function of science according to the positivists (e.g. Auguste
According to Isaac Newton, to explain something scientifically meant showing how
phenomena could be deduced from a few mathematical laws.
The author of the text (Leahey) notes that recent history of science tends to be more
externalist, considering science within a larger social-historical context and pattern.
The thesis that unobserved, theoretically postulated entities actually exist is called
Sir Karl Popper formulated his demarcation criterion as a rule for telling real science
from fake science.
Imagine the author of a History of Psychology Text Book (known as book X) devotes a
single chapter to “The Great Men of Psychology”. In contrast, the author of your
textbook has sought to place psychology within larger social and historical patterns. One
could argue that your history of psychology text represents an example of externalism,
while text book (X) represents a more internal dimension in the history of science.
Unit 2 Notes:
The humanistic thesis “Man is the measure of all things” was articulated by the Sophists.

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