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December 2021

The third way: Scientific realism and communication theory

Journal/Book: Communication Theory. 1999; 9: 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012, USA. Guilford Publications Inc. 162-188.

Abstract: Several commentators have distinguished between two general philosophies of science, ''logical empiricism'' and ''perspectivism'' and implied that communication theorists who nse quantitative social scientific methods are, as a consequence, logical empiricists. This dichotomy ignores a third position, ''scientific realism,'' which is dominant in current philosophy of science. This essay distinguishes these three major philosophic movements and advances the argument that communication theorizing is realist when it presumes the reality and causal efficacy of critical theoretical concepts. All acceptance of the scientific realist approach implies a set of three commitments for the communication theorist: to the reality of one's theoretical concepts, to scientific explanation as causal process, and to the ''reliability of meaning. '' Relevant communication theorizing is discussed iir light of these commitments.

Note: Article Pavitt C, Univ Delaware, Newark,DE 19716 USA


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