Metatheory of Learning

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(1), 18. Reviews the book, Psychology of Learning: A Conceptual Analysis by Kenneth P. Hillner (1978). This book is indeed a conceptual analysis of learning, so much so that in the entire 285 pages of text, we encounter no reports of experiments and no detailed empirical consideration of any law or controversy, while particular theorists and their systems appear only rarely. The author carries the reader through a series of decisions that a theorist must make in constructing a theory its logical type, its use or nonuse of reductionism, the part of the input-output process on which it focuses, the kinds of intervening variables it uses, its position on the law of effect. By now it should be evident to the reader that the book is as long on matters of definition and taxonomy as it is short on empirical detail. However, the difficult abstractness of the subject matter is to some extent offset by the careful, yet casual, almost jaunty style. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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