Reevaluating the method of scientific investigation, James A. Bell provides a bold philosophical framework for developing and assessing archaeologists' theories of the past. More informed and judicious decisions, the author asserts, are made when archaeologists explore questions such as:
How can theories be formulated so that they increase understanding and provide insight, and are theories still useful when they do not?
How can theories be adjusted when anomalies are revealed?
How can theories be assessed against competing theories?
When should theories be abandoned, and when should they be pursued further?
With numerous examples from archaeology as well as comparative examples from the physical and biological sciences, Bell illustrates how exploring the answers to these and related inquiries will lead to improved formulation and testing of theories.
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