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2017 | nr 4 (200) | 411--432
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Comments Concerning the Position of Theories in the Behavioral Sciences

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In this article, I tried (1) to distinguish between various meanings given to the word "theory" in the contemporary social sciences; (2) to present examples of three types of theories conceived as systems of strictly general propositions; and (3) to point out some problems suggested by the analysis of existing theories which seem to be relevant to the codification of theoretical knowledge in the social sciences.
An attempt was made toward clarification of three main meanings of the term "theory."
In the first meaning the term "theory" designates speculations that have not been empirically tested and that often are not testable.
In the second meaning the term is used to refer to every kind of result of scientific nativity except description. In this way "theory" is used to include: (a) new concepts, (b) operational definitions of non-operational concepts, (c) heuristic directives which describe certain classes of variables as the most important determinants of behavior, (d) models conceived as mathematical functions, sentences, diagrams, or tables concerning relationships between variables which have no empirical interpretation, (e) single general hypotheses supported by systematic evidence, (f) systems of strictly general hypotheses; and many other results of scientific work, as for example, post facto interpretations, the characteristics of a given society, metatheoretical analysis, etc.
In the third meaning the term "theory" is synonymous with a system of empirical and strictly general propositions which are in some way mutually related.
Theories conceived in the third sense were the main subject of our interest. (fragment of text)
Opis fizyczny
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