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Analogy and the Acceptance of Theory in Archaeology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Abstract

The “new archaeology,” a philosophy of archaeological research based on deductive logic, has both resolved and created problems. It has rightly stressed that the empirical content of a theory determines its acceptability; no longer must an assessment of its theoretical status be based on an appraisal of the person advancing the theory. However, a deductivist account is not satisfactory either logically or as a description of scientific processes. The basis of the problem is demonstrated by the concern of many archaeologists with ascertaining the degree to which a theory is confirmed; factual reconstruction, although of interest, is not, and should not be, fundamental to scientific work. By reexamining the basic purpose of science, I hope to demonstrate that what is required is an assessment of theoretical status based on relative empirical content.

Type
Comment
Copyright
Copyright © The Society for American Archaeology 1975

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