Communication 200 – Class 2 September 30, 2008 Why Theory? Kurt Lewin said “There is nothing so practical as a good theory.” We have informal (and often wrong) theories about many things (we’re naïve scientists). Dating and relationships How to work on group projects Effects of mass media Ways of Knowing Experience “I…” Authority “He…” Science Systematic observation Objective vs. Interpretive Theories Griffin makes several distinctions, some accurate… Objective are scientific, interpretive considerably less so Objective assumes reality is “out there,” while interpretive assumes that reality is “in there.” Objective emphasizes objectivity, interpretive emphasizes “emancipation” Interpretive means people realizing their potential and eliminating constraints, becoming free. Objective vs. Interpretive Theories (cont.) and some inaccurate… Objective stresses forces affecting people, interpretive stresses choices made by people OK, but objective ALSO considers individual choice and information processing Objective is deterministic, interpretive is free will No, objective is not deterministic, it is probabilistic, meaning there are tendencies but not mandates toward certain behaviors – so free will still exists. Smoking example: increases chances for dying and getting cancer, but doesn’t determine. Our focus will be on objective, scientific theories. Goals of Science Prediction Explanation Why? Understanding Causal process, closely tied to explanation. Control Desirable Characteristics of Scientific Knowledge Abstractness Independence of time and space Intersubjectivity Agreement about meaning among scientists Empirical Relevance Ability to compare to observed reality What is a Scientific Theory? A set of abstract statements that conform to one of three forms of theory statements. Set of Laws: a collection of independent statements, which must be confirmed by evidence first Axiomatic: Axioms and propositions Causal Process: All statements of equal value Set of Laws Form of Theory Each statement refers to something known to be true on the basis of substantial evidence. Statements are demonstrated independent of one another Problematic in social science because requires a lot of research before theory can be formalized Axiomatic Form of Theory Includes axioms and propositions Axioms are either things known to be true based on research, or assumed to be true. Propositions are derived from the axioms; if the axioms are correct, the propositions must be correct, e.g, Axiom 1: If A, then B Axiom 2: If B, then C Proposition 1: If A, then __________?