An Update on the Identity of my Thesis – Part 1

So, it has been quite a while since last I posted.  At least, it certainly seems like it has been.  Lots has happened with my thesis in that time, and I do mean lots.

About three weeks ago, I was meeting with my advisor during one of our weekly meetings.  We were talking about how to write my proposal and the topic of pseudoscience came up, I commented that Theory of Mind is definitely pseudoscience.  Our plan at that point was that I was going to do a definitional argument looking at Theory of Mind and comparing it to the criteria that determines science, social sciences, and pseudoscience.  I wondered aloud if there was an article out there on the rhetoric of pseudoscience.

Curious, we googled it and found the following book.  The part that we read claimed that it doesn’t matter if one proves that a social science theory is pseudoscience because the social sciences use disproven theories and pseudoscience all the time.

We sat there for a few minutes in complete silence trying to figure out what to do with this new information.  What am I going to do now?  I asked myself silently.

My advisor was the first to break the silence, “What if you are looking at Theory of Mind in the wrong way?”

Confused, I asked, “What do you mean?”

“Well, right now, you are treating Theory of Mind as the main point of your thesis. But it seems to me that Theory of Mind is just a symptom of something bigger and more complex.”  An idea hit him as he went to the computer and typed something in: Autism Speaks and Theory of Mind.  “What if we would look at an artifact where this,” he said pointing at Autism Speaks’ website, “Is your artifact.”

I realized what he was saying.  Theory of Mind pisses me off, but it is part of something bigger.  It is part of what we had talked about a few months ago: it’s something that is not really scientific that many just assume it is scientific because it comes from the field of psychology.  It is an -istic scientific theory.

More of the story will be told in Part 2 when I discuss the TV Guide listing version of my thesis.

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