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Wassink, R.

Department of Theoretical Philosophy

A Thesis on Methodological Dogmatism in Psychology

A reassessment of conceptual aims that proliferate in a research tradition going by the name of psychology

In this thesis, I evaluate and expand on Bazerman’s (1988) claim that “[t]he APA manual still serves basically as a codification of behaviorist rhetoric.” I first examine the structure of his argument, and differentiate between on the one hand his historical and normative claims, and on the other his descriptive account. Then I scrutinize his historical and closely related normative claims in more detail, and argue that the rhetorical ideas currently proclaimed by psychologists and advocated by the Publication Manual cannot be referred to as behavioristic in a way similar to Bazerman’s use of this word. With this refutation, however, Bazerman’s (1988) descriptive account concerning incremental encyclopedism (fact stacking behavior as a research incentive) is not rejected. Aiming to supplement Bazerman’s descriptive account with additional insight, in the remainder of the thesis I work towards the conclusion that the current scientific climate shows symptoms of what I refer to as methodological dogmatism; the idea that methodological and procedural requirements can account for any empirical result, and shift the burden of proof in any scientific debate.

Last modified:04 February 2016 12.07 p.m.