Philosophical Psychology 1989

Philosophical Psychology Seminar (1989) Videos & Audio

P. E. Meehl did first 10 sessions (Winter Quarter, Jan–Mar 1989). In the Spring Quarter, several other department members lectured on various topics. Then PEM did last two sessions (5/25/89 and 6/1/89).

(Meehl's lecture notes for all sessions are here; notes for each session are also paired with video/mp3 listings.) 

  • Philosophical Psychology Session #01 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 1 (of 12) 1/5/89  notes01

Aims of course, Metatheory, Object language and metalanguage 

Historical overview: Logical positivism, Operationism, Behaviorism 


  • Philosophical Psychology Session #02 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 2 (of 12) 1/12/89  notes02

Popper; confirmation vs falsification; science vs non-science; implicative syllogism, modus tollens; risky tests; Salmon's coincidence; Bayes's theorem; role of protocols;  Feyerabend; Lakatos.


  • Philosophical Psychology Session #03 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 3 (of 12) 1/19/89  notes03

Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science; Reichenbach’s contexts of discovery/justification; truth as meta-predicate; Skinner on theoretical constructs; theories of truth; Carnap; verisimilitude (begin).

[Meehl objected to trailing wire for a microphone and requested a wireless one. First session there had been a communication problem, so he put up with a wire (notice he doesn’t move about as freely as in later sessions). Second session the microphone was wireless. But for the third session there was only the hard-wired one again, and he is obviously angry about it throughout the session. Subsequently, he informed the audio/visual department that if they couldn’t provide a wireless microphone, there would be no further videotaping.]


  • Philosophical Psychology Session #04 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 4 (of 12) 1/26/89  notes04

Truth and verisimilitude (continued); theory formalization, core vs periphery; theory as "complete"; kinds of entities; 3 kinds of theories; Fisher effects, interaction.

  • Philosophical Psychology Session #05 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 5 (of 12) 2/2/89  notes05

Nomological net; levels of verisimilitude; theory plus auxiliaries     → observational relations; Lakatosian defense of core; risky predictions; Avagadro's number; weak/strong use of significance tests; Fisher on controlling variables (lady tasting tea).
  • Philosophical Psychology Session #06 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 6 (of 12) 2/9/89  notes06

Lakatosian retreat, defense of core (continue).

Begin: 10 Obfuscating factors for narrative summaries of research: 1-loose derivation chain; 2-problematic auxiliaries; 3-ceteris paribus doubtful; 4-particulars imperfectly realized; 5-inadequate power; 6-crud factor (begin).

Philosophical Psychology Session #07 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 7 (of 12) 2/16/89  notes07

Obfuscating factors: 6-crud factor (continued); 7-pilot studies; 8-bias in MS submissions; 9-bias in MS acceptance; 10-detached validation claim for psychometric instruments.


  • Philosophical Psychology Session #08 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 8 (of 12) 2/23/89  notes08

Significance tests ok in technology, not theory testing; how to improve  theory assessment: investigators, editors & journal policy, reviewers, theoreticians, education practices.

Probability concept (begin): historical, probability1 and probability2.


  • Philosophical Psychology Session #09 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 9 (of 12) 3/2/89  notes09

Probability concept (continued); probability as relative frequency; probability1 and probability2.

Clinical vs statistical prediction (begin). 


  • Philosophical Psychology Session #10 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 10 (of 12) 3/9/89 notes10

Clinical vs statistical prediction (continued); data vs mode of combining; predicting for narrower subclass; history -- Burgess, Sarbin, etc., to Grove meta-analysis; Goldberg Paradox; broken leg cases.


  • Philosophical Psychology Session #11 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 11 (of 12) 5/25/89  notes11




  • Philosophical Psychology Session #12 (video) (mp3)

Lecture 12 (of 12) 6/1/89 (poor sound in spots)  notes12

Psychoanalysis, concluded: Why psychoanalytic session is better than experiments; reliance on clinical experience vs evidence.

Appraising scientific theory without significance tests; Spielraum and Meehl's closeness index.