Re: What is a theory? LO3720

Michael McMaster (
Mon, 13 Nov 1995 12:37:27 +0000

Replying to LO3680 --

Willard, many are throwing out the baby with the bathwater in
rejecting the need for theory. I think the bathwater is a grand
statement with rigorous standards of proof. I think the baby is
generative thinking that can be effectively tested and effectively
challenged. We're left with "good ideas", feelings and whims - to
characterise how it occurs so frequently.

I do think that theory is for those who want to achieve different
results. But isn't what you then go on to describe as an approach a
theory in itself? Isn't it grounded in some other theories about
people, our relationship to the world, and how we produce results?
And I can test and challenge your theory by trying it, by comparing
it to different approaches (say that make theory explicit or pursue
it creatively) and I can reject it by thought without the need for
action. This last is important because the field of possibility of
theory is too large to explore in total - let alone the field of
opinion, feeling and intuituion.

Michael McMaster