Cognitive Psychology and Information Processing: An Introduction

Cognitive Psychology and Information Processing: An Introduction

Cognitive Psychology and Information Processing: An Introduction

Cognitive Psychology and Information Processing: An Introduction

Excerpt

Basic research, at its essence, is exploration of the unknown. When it is successful, isolated pieces of reality are deciphered and described. Most of the history of an empirical discipline consists of probes into this darkness--some bold, others careful and systematic. Most of these efforts are initially incorrect. At best, they are distant approximations to a reality that may not be correctly specified for centuries. How, then, can we describe the fragmented knowledge that characterizes a scientific discipline for most of its history?

The knowledge that a field claims at any point in its development cannot be unified, at that time, by a correct account of the phenomenon it studies; for that only becomes available much later. Throughout most of the history of a research science, reality does not unify its literature. What, then, does? It is our premise that the data, experiments, and theory of a developing field can only be fully understood by reference to the paradigmatic commitments of its practitioners. A dynamic field of science is held together by its paradigm.

Thomas Kuhn developed the concept of a scientific paradigm as part of a fundamental reformulation of views on the scientific enterprise. The paradigm, representing tacit commitments to a conception of reality that cannot be defended on rational or canonical grounds, stood in contrast to then-prevailing views of how science is done. Kuhn challenged the idea that scientific investigation is absolutely rational, thoroughly cumulative, and unequivocally objective. He highlighted the role of consensual judgments in determining what appears rational, objective, and worth cumulating. His most vociferous critics, philosophers of science by profession, have by now . . .

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