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Measuring the Intentional WorldRealism, Naturalism, and Quantitative Methods in the Behavioral Sciences$
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J. D. Trout

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780195107661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195107667.001.0001

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Introduction: Realism and Naturalism in the Philosophy of Science

Introduction: Realism and Naturalism in the Philosophy of Science

(p.3) One Introduction: Realism and Naturalism in the Philosophy of Science
Measuring the Intentional World

J. D. Trout (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter leads the reader through the major positions, issues, and disputes in 20th century philosophy of science, and describes the evidential conditions that authorize an argument for realism about the social and behavioral sciences. Realist interpretations of the entities, laws, and theories of the natural sciences have become familiar fare for contemporary philosophers of science. Along with their empiricist and various antirealist opponents, realists draw their evidence exclusively from the mature sciences of physics, chemistry, and biology. However, the cumulative effect has been the nearly universal neglect of the social sciences and psychology in this dispute. It is argued that despite the empiricism taught from textbooks in psychology and the social sciences, only a realist understanding of scientific theories can account for the success of quantitative methods in the social sciences and psychology.

Keywords:   realism, antirealism, empiricism, quantitative methods, evidence, natural sciences, psychology, social sciences, behavioral sciences

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