... But Discretion Were the Better Part of Valor

  • Dirk L. Schaeffer


If there is anything to be learned from Kuhn’s (1962) trenchant analyses of science—or from the less exciting but more fruitful reflections of Campbell’s “evolutionary epistemology” (e.g., 1977)—it is that science, even at its best, is mostly a series of noble mistakes. Theories and explanations are propounded, used, and ultimately discarded as the knowledge they generate inevitably reveals their fundamental shortcomings (Agnew, 1977). Consequently, it is difficult to dismiss Professor Madsen’s Hypotheses Quotient (HQ) out of hand as fundamentally misguided; rather, it represents a genuinely noble quest for a metric that would allow fruitful comparison of theories to yield, one would hope, immense benefits in terms of the allocations of money, time, and intellect: a quest that is rarely undertaken, and that needs—despite Feyerabend (1970)—all the support it can get.


Good Part Evolutionary Epistemology Freudian Theory Immense Benefit Complete Psychological Work 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agnew, N. M. On data: Does science have holes in her pockets? Ontario Psychologist, 1977, 9(2), 33–62.Google Scholar
  2. Campbell, D. T. Descriptive epistemology: Psychological, sociological, and evolutionary. The William James Lectures, Harvard University, 1977.Google Scholar
  3. Feyerabend, P. K. Against method: Outline of an anarchistic theory of knowledge. In M. Radner & S. Winokur (Eds.), Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  4. Freud, S. The interpretation of dreams. In J. Strachey (Ed. and Trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 5). London: Hogarth Press, 1953. (Original work published 1900)Google Scholar
  5. Holzkamp, K. Theorie und Experiment in der Psychologie. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1964.Google Scholar
  6. Holzkamp, K. Wissenschaft als Handlung. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1968.Google Scholar
  7. Kuhn, T. S. The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.Google Scholar
  8. Ross, L. The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in social psychology. New York: Academic Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  9. Smedslund, J. Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy: A set of common sense theorems. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 1978, 19, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk L. Schaeffer
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychological Assessment Consultation Evaluation (PACE)EdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations