On Urbach's Analysis of the 'IQ Debate'
Deakin (Michael A.B.)
Source: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 27, No. 1, Mar., 1976, pp. 60-65
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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. This discussion takes issue with a recent paper by Peter Urbach on the question of the genetic basis for intelligence.
  2. It argues that Urbach overlooks the distinction between intergroup heritability and intragroup heritability and furthermore, in his discussion of a continuing scientific debate, employs misleading paradigms.
  3. These methodological errors lead Urbach into specific documented mistakes.
  4. Urbach's original analysis is thus shown to be logically incomplete and sociologically specious.

Author’s Abstract
  1. Peter Urbach's recent article 'Progress and Degeneration in the "IQ Debate" is welcome insofar as it constitutes an attempt to analyse the scientific content of a continuing, and (as he rightly states) acrimonious, controversy in the social sciences. It also advances many penetrating criticisms against the views of individual protagonists in the current debate. Urbach's attempt to provide clearly defined standards for the assessment of rival theories and his efforts to detach the scientific debate from its political and emotional concomitants also make the article a significant and a timely one.
  2. Nevertheless, Urbach's own analysis is open to a number of criticisms. This note aims to deal with two of these in some detail. I believe that other aspects of the article are also invalid or misleading, but the two matters raised here are so vital as to raise grave doubts as to the validity of much of his analysis.


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