S. S. Stevens and the origins of operationism

Philosophy of Science 62 (3):404-424 (1995)

Abstract
Despite influencing the social sciences since the 1930s, S. S. Stevens' "operationist" philosophy of science has yet to be adequately understood. I reconstruct Stevens' operationism from his early work and assess the influence of various views (logical positivism, behaviorism and the "operational viewpoint" of P. W. Bridgman, among others) on Stevens. Stevens' operationism emerges, on my reconstruction, as a naturalistic methodological directive aimed at agreement, founded in turn on the belief that agreement is constitutive of science, the scientific community, and objectivity. Further, I show that operationism is historically and philosophically independent of the views mentioned above
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DOI 10.1086/289875
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