Measuring the Intentional World: Realism, Naturalism, and Quantitative Methods in the Behavioral Sciences

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9780195166590: Measuring the Intentional World: Realism, Naturalism, and Quantitative Methods in the Behavioral Sciences

Scientific realism has been advanced as an interpretation of the natural sciences but never the behavioral sciences. This exciting book introduces a novel version of scientific realism--Measured Realism--that characterizes the kind of theoretical progress in the social and psychological sciences that is uneven but indisputable. Trout proposes a theory of measurement--Population-Guided Estimation--that connects natural, psychological, and social scientific inquiry. Presenting quantitative methods in the behavioral sciences as at once successful and regulated by the world, Measuring the Intentional World will engage philosophers of science, historians of science, sociologists of science, and scientists interested in the foundations of their own disciplines.

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About the Author:


J.D. Trout is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Parmly Hearing Institute at Loyola University in Chicago. He is co-author of The Theory of Knowledge: A Thematic Introduction (OUP, 1998) and co-editor of Contemporary Materialism (with Paul Moser) and The Philosophy of Science (with Richard Boyd and Philip Gasper).

Review:


"There is much of value in Trout's book. The careful sorting out of often confused realist claims is welcome. His recognition that the social sciences sometimes have measurement and testing procedures akin to those of the natural sciences is also a welcome antidote to the long tradition of arguing about their scientific status without looking at what they actually do. Trout's claim that assessments of realism issues require carefully looking at specific theories seems to me particularly valuable."--Philosophical Review


"This is an interesting, complex, and important book. Indeed, it may well be the most important book in the philosophy of the social sciences since Rosenberg's Sociobiology and the Preemption of Social Science (1980). In addition to developing an original and intriguing naturalistic account of psychology and the social sciences, Trout offers the reader a most nuanced analysis of various forms of scientific realism, as well as a well-developed version of naturalistic epistemology."--Teaching Philosophy


"A radical book, and essential reading for courses in philosophy of science, statistics, and research methods."--Choice


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