Critiquing Scientific Inferenc (PHIL41440)
Credits 10 Subject Philosophy
Level 4 School Philosophy
Semester   Information Semester One Module Coordinator Professor Maria Baghramian

Critiquing Scientific Inference

Conventional wisdom has it that the data don't lie—but they can certainly mislead us. In many of the special sciences the proper interpretation of data is a matter of significant controversy. In this module we will examine a several kinds of scientific inference in cognitive psychology, drawing on texts by both philosophers and scientists.
We will begin by considering explanatory practice in psychology—what form do psychological explanations take? Do psychologists discover laws or describe mechanisms? After examining this background, we will consider a series of brief case studies in experimental inference. Possible topics include inferences based on behavioral dissociation, reaction times, biases and illusions, computer models, and statistical inferences. We will conclude by considering case studies of theory choice in psychology. Possible topics include nativism about language, the ascription of representations, extended cognition, and plant cognition.

Curricular information is subject to change