Negative Psychology
Circle of Willis
266

Way to miss the point.

Negative psychology stems (as do replication failures) in large part from the absence of well-specified theory (i.e., theory capable of enabling predictive outcomes beyond effect present/effect absent).

Note the proliferation — make that virtual unity — of psychological experimentation in support of demonstration. Theoretically coherent and conceptually mature explanatory principles should make clear what are the essential conditions for replication of theory (not simply a demonstration based on weak analogies to poorly specified, largely stipulated and not even reductively well-constructed] mental [a term bandied about absent clear meaning in contemporary psychology — try to provide a useful definition of a mental event sometime; a useful exercise in placing on display the theoretical immaturity of psychological “science”] happenings. Accordingly replication warriors warn us that failed attempts are due to such minutia as “number of cubicles, nature of timer [hand held, computer] number of subject, whether experimenter was a grad student or undergrad…). Sure reinstatement of all conditions is likely to enhance replicability, but this is replicating token not type.

Bottom line: For psychology the mantra “science = method” is the bold faced failure to understand the distinction between necessity and sufficiency. As the late Sig Koch used to lament, psychology is a discipline in which method was in place well in advance of substance.

I cannot leave this epistemic train wreck (and not for Kahneman’s light weight observations) soon enough.

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