The fashionable scientific fraud: Collingwood’s critique of psychometrics

History of the Human Sciences 33 (2):3-21 (2020)
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Abstract

In his review of Charles Spearman’s The Nature of ‘Intelligence’, R. G. Collingwood launched an attack upon psychometrics that was expanded in his Essay on Metaphysics. Although underrated by friend and foe alike, Collingwood’s critique identified a number of defects in the thinking of psychometricians that subsequently became entrenched. However, his main complaint was that psychology generally was a ‘fashionable scientific fraud’. This charge was inspired by his more general views on logic and metaphysics, which, however, as I argue, are logically unsustainable. Ironically, other elements of his philosophy – his ‘fallacy of calculation’ and concept of ‘scale of forms’ – are relevant to psychometrics and tip the scales in favour of his otherwise unwarranted charge.

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Joel Michell
University of Sydney

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References found in this work

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1950 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1 (4):328-332.
An Essay on Metaphysics.R. G. Collingwood - 1940 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press UK.
The Idea of History.R. G. COLLINGWOOD - 1946 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):252-253.
The Nature of "Intelligence" and the Principles of Cognition.C. Spearman - 1924 - Journal of Philosophy 21 (11):294-301.

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