Theories Are Tested by Observing the Facts: Or Are They?
by Hugh G. Petrie - 1972
"The first rule that we must be prepared to accept as we judge the relative merits of different [learning] theories is this: All the theorists accept all of the facts." This view, enunciated by one of the most respected learning theorists, is, I believe, a view which is held almost without question by most psychologists, educators, and laymen. It is also, I believe, a view which is a most profoundly mistaken one. It is the purpose of this essay to indicate briefly why this view is mistaken and to show with a discussion of several examples what a pernicious influence this view has had on the development of psychological learning theory and most especially on the application of psychological learning theory to educational concerns.
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