RECOVERING A DIALECTICAL VIEW OF RATIONALITY*

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

In this article, I argue for an interpretation of Messick's (1989) theory of validity that supports a dialectical over a technical view of rationality in making validity judgments. A primary theme underlying Messick's theory is the “Singerian” approach to inquiry where one system of inquiry is observed by another in order to open “their underlying scientific and value assumptions to public scrutiny and critique” (pp. 61–62). Against Markus (this issue), who argues that a “completion” of Messick's theoretical project is necessary to support a single, best justified validity judgment for any given test use, I argue that Messick has provided a means of maintaining validity theory and the judgments it supports as ongoing accomplishments, always open to other perspectives, and critically reflexive in light of those challenges.

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