5 Pages

The Wason tradition in scientific reasoning

The figure for whom this book is a tribute-Peter C. Wason-stands, like Kuhn, Piaget, and Simon, at the head of an important tradition ofwork in the psychology of science. In the present context (studies devoted to reasoning generally, not merely studies of scientific reasoning), Wason's work takes on a special character, however, since Wason, even more than Piaget, has been concerned with the relation between formal logic and "psychologic". Indeed, the earliest empirical programmes in the modern psychology of science were all explicitly Wasonian. Since Gorman (1992 and this volume) has reviewed this work, we can be brief here, and centre on the most important issue-the role that Wason's explorations of confirmatory heuristics (as summarised in, for example, Wason & Johnson-Laird, 1972) have had on the understanding ofscientific thinking.