In a career spanning over 5 decades, William W. Rozeboom, emeritus Professor in the University of Alberta's Psychology Department and Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Psychology, produced a remarkable body of work in philosophy, psychology and psychometrics in which he brought these three disciplines together in a way not previously seen.

While continuing his work as an accomplished philosopher, principally in the philsophy of science, as a professional psychologist he was able to make a prolonged and close study of the disciplineís evidential base and inferential methods, showing how its natural conceptual growth was hampered by a lack of reflection on the core concepts that define its subject matter and methods of enquiry. At the same time, he demonstrate that the philosophy of science, in its present form, was itself poorly equipped to conduct this kind of analysis, principally on account of its lack of familiarity with the inductive methods of the special sciences, and its continued adherence to hypothetico-deductive theories of scientific inference.

Similarly, his well-known critique of the use of statistical tests in psychological research was always accompanied by a corresponding critique of psychometrics and test theory for being out of touch with typical research requirements, and for its infatuation with mathematical embellishments of little use to the practicing data analyst. And arising from his own analytic work, he has also left us a suite of computer programs, most notably HYBALL (short for Hyperplane Eyeballing), designed for use in exploratory analyses of multivariate data, a field to which he became a major contributor in his later work.

Born of Dutch stock in Ottumwa, Iowa, Rozeboom completed his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Chicago in 1956 with a thesis under Howard Hunt on latent learning in animal behavior, having spent the previous two years as a draftee psychometrician in the U.S. Army at Ft. Sam Houstonís Medical Center. This was followed by an invaluable two-year postdoctoral National Science Foundation fellowship in the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, then headed by Herbert Feigl, and teaching positions at St Olaf College (1958--1961) and Wesleyan University (1961--1964).

William Rozeboom 1960
W. W. Rozeboom - 1960

In 1964, at the invitation of Joseph R. Royce, Director of the newly-founded center for theoretical psychology at the University of Alberta, and on Feiglís recommendation, Rozeboom was offered a professorship at the center, with special responsibility for the philosophy of science, and moved to Canada. He retired in 1993 and has worked from his home since then.



From Scientific Inference, The Myth and the Reality: An Introduction to the Work of William W. Rozeboom Book_Scientific_Inference