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Acceptance of a Theory: Justification or Rhetoric?

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  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy Of Science
  • Psychology


The rhetoric-analytic critique of experimental psychology owes its apparent attractiveness to (a) some erroneous ideas about cognitive psychology and the rationale of experimentation, (b) the failure to distinguish between prior data and evidential data vis-à-vis the to-be-corroborated explanatory theory, and (c) evidential data owes their identity to a theory that is independent of the theory being tested. Theories in cognitive psychology are accepted because they can withstand concerted efforts to falsify them.

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