Notes on Paul Meehl’s “Philosophical Psychology Session” #05

These are the notes I made whilst watching the video recording of Paul Meehl’s philosophy of science lectures. This is the fifth episode (a list of all the videos can he found here). Please note that these posts are not designed to replace or be used instead of the actual videos (I highly recommend you watch them). They are to be read alongside to help you understand what was said. I also do not include everything that he said (just the main/most complex points).

  • Operationism states all misible concepts in scientific theory must be operationally defined in observable predicates BUT that’s incorrect, don’t need all theoretical postulates to map to observable predicates.
  • Don’t need constants to be able to use functions and see if the components are correct. Given the function forms you can know the parameters (ideal case is to derive parameters). Weaker version: I can’t say what a, b, and c are but I know they are transferable or that a tends to be twice as big as b. If theory permits that it’s a risky prediction (could be shown to be wrong). Theories are lexically organised (from higher to lower parts). You don’t ask questions about lower points before answering the higher up ones in a way that makes the theories comparable. If two theories have the same entities arranged in the same structure with the same connections, with the same functions that describe the connections between them, and the parameters are the same: t1 and t2 are empirically the same theory. If we can compare two theories, we can compare our theory (tI) to omniscient Jones’ theory (tOJ) and see verisimilitude of our theory (how much it corresponds with tOJ).
  • People can become wedded to theories or methods. This results in demonising the “enemy” & an unwillingness to give up that theory/method.
  • Lakatosian defence (general model of defending a theory): 1) (t^At^Cp^Ai^Cn) follows deductively that [sideways T, strict turnstile of deducibility] (o1,  [if, then], o2)

AND absent the theory P(o2/[conditional on]o1)bk[background knowledge] is small read more

Notes on Paul Meehl’s “Philosophical Psychology Session” #04

These are the notes I made whilst watching the video recording of Paul Meehl’s philosophy of science lectures. This is the fourth episode (a list of all the videos can he found here). Please note that these posts are not designed to replace or be used instead of the actual videos (I highly recommend you watch them). They are to be read alongside to help you understand what was said. I also do not include everything that he said (just the main/most complex points).

Saying “it’s highly probable that Caesar crossed the Rubicon” is the same as “it’s true that Caesar crossed the Rubicon” (1st is object language, 2nd is meta). read more

Notes on Paul Meehl’s “Philosophical Psychology Session” #03

These are the notes I made whilst watching the video recording of Paul Meehl’s philosophy of science lectures. This is the third episode (a list of all the videos can he found here). Please note that these posts are not designed to replace or be used instead of the actual videos (I highly recommend you watch them). They are to be read alongside to help you understand what was said. I also do not include everything that he said (just the main/most complex points).

Descriptive discourse: what is. read more

Notes on Paul Meehl’s “Philosophical Psychology Session” #02

These are the notes I made whilst watching the video recording of Paul Meehl’s philosophy of science lectures. This is the second episode (a list of all the videos can he found here). Please note that these posts are not designed to replace or be used instead of the actual videos (I highly recommend you watch them). They are to be read alongside to help you understand what was said. I also do not include everything that he said (just the main/most complex points).

Popper did not accept the verifiable criterion of meaning. Popper never said falsifiability was a criterion of meaning. read more

Notes on Paul Meehl’s “Philosophical Psychology Session” #01

These are the notes I made whilst watching the video recording of Paul Meehl’s philosophy of science lectures. This is the first episode (a list of all the videos can be found here). Please note that these posts are not designed to replace or be used instead of the actual videos (I highly recommend you watch them). They are to be read alongside to help you understand what was said. I also do not include everything that was discussed (just the main/most complex points).

  • Power of hard sciences doesn’t come from operational verbal definitions but from the tools of measurements & the mathematics.
  • A subset of the concepts must be operationally defined otherwise it doesn’t connect with the facts.
  • Methodological remarks= remark in the meta language (statements that occur in science and the relations between them, properties of statements and between statements, relations between beliefs and evidence e.g. true, false, rational, unknown, confirmed by data, fallacious, deducible, valid, probable) rather than object language (language that speaks about subject matter e.g. protons, libido, atom, g, reinforce),
  • Hans Reichenbach was wrong about induction
  • Pure observations are infected by theory (FALSE for psychology). If protocol you record is infected by theory, bad scientist e.g. Choosing to look at 1 thing rather than another just because of a theory OR falsifying data just to fit your theory.
  • Watson’s theory that learning took place in muscles (from proprioception feedback) was falsified by rats being able to negotiate a maze almost as quickly after having neural pathway that controlled proprioception feedback severed or when the maze was flooded.
  • Operationalism (we only know a concept if we can measure it & all necessary steps for demonstrating meaning or truth must be specified) sparked psychologies’ obsession with operationalising our terms (even though the harder sciences we are trying to emulate are not as rigorous with it) but Carnap suggests it is folly.
  • Logical positivism- taking things that could not be doubted by any sane person and building up from there a justification for science, and with the math and logic on top of the protocols you “coerce them” into believing in science. Urge for certainty.
  • Analyse science and rationally reconstruct (justify) it, show why a rational person should believe in science. Negative aim: liquidation of metaphysics (by creating meaning criterion).
  • A statement is cognitively meaningless if you don’t know how to verify it (either empirically or logically)- Criterion of meaning. The meaning of a sentence is the method of it’s verification, statement of affirmative meaning. A sentence’s meaning is derived from the evidence that supports it (“the meaning of a sentence is to be found entirely in the conditions under which it could be verified by some possible experience”*). Rejected because the sentence “Caesar crossed the Rubicon” means COMPLETELY different things to us and to a Centurion at Caesar’s side because we have different evidence.
  • Lots of our information comes from “authorities” (even though it’s a logical fallacy). We have to calibrate the authority and often we presume someone has done it for us so we trust it.

*http://hume.ucdavis.edu/mattey/phi156/schlickslides_ho.pdf read more