Observation statements in the social sciences

Grazer Philosophische Studien 12 (1):35-46 (1981)
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Philosophers have assumed that observational statements in the sciences are unproblematic and that statements like "X is blue" or "Y is salty" have the same meaning for everyone. Four fields are examined (oncology, phonetics, enology, and psychology) where there is evidence that observational language is not used consensually by practicioners in the field, even though they share the same theory and use the same vocabulary. Enology and psychology are developing sciences, so that agreement on what vocabulary is appropriate is still being developed. The precise use of observational expressions must be carefully taught and supervised. Linguistic consensus and reHability cannot be assumed



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