ERIC Number: ED043927
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-Jul
Reference Count: 0
The Logical Effects of Theory on Observational Categories and Methodology in Verbal Learning Theory. Final Report.
Petrie, Hugh G.
This report attempts to determine to what extent the thesis that observation is theory-dependent holds in the area of verbal learning theory. This area was chosen because: (1) a philosophical criticism of verbal learning theory will contribute to the difficult task of investigating the border area between philosophy and psychology; and (2) no one theory has yet emerged as pre-eminent so that the difficulties of handling competing theories are not existent. While no "theory" has yet been produced three general positions have emerged: gestaltism, functional associationism, and transformational linguistics. Discussed are: (1) some of the grounds for suspecting that the theory-dependency thesis holds for verbal learning theory; (2) that theoretical terms must be ultimately definable in terms of operations describable in some theory-neutral observation language; (3) some of the criticisms of operationalism to the more general question of whether there can be a theory-neutral observation language at all; and (4) details of the controversy between Skinner for the associationists and Chomsky for the transformational linguists. An appendix includes a paper which explains the philosophical underpinnings of the theory-dependency thesis as presented by Wittgenstein. (Author/CJ)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL.