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Alternatives to Cognition by Christina Lee

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Chapter 2

Science and Explanation: Distinguishing Between Commonsense Description and Scientific Explanation

Common sense is a valuable but potentially dangerous resource for the psychologist.

—Fletcher (1984, p. 203)

The opening chapter introduced a general argument that many contemporary cognitively based models are unsatisfactory as scientific explanations of human action. In this chapter I aim to make the argument more specific, using the influential self-efficacy and social–cognitive models of Bandura (1977, 1986) to illustrate the problems with theories of this type. This chapter examines the formal theoretical difficulties with such models and discusses empirical evidence suggesting that such theories fail to provide an understanding ...

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