Theory Construction in Second Language Acquisition
Recently, many SLA researchers have adopted a postmodernist approach which challenges the assumption that SLA research is a rationalist, scientific endeavour. The resulting epistemological arguments, plus problems of theory proliferation, contradicting theories, and theory domain, hinder progress towards a unified theory of SLA. <i>Theory Construction in SLA</i> addresses these problems by returning to first principles; it asks whether there is such a thing as reliable knowledge, what is special about scientific method, and how we can best explain SLA. It is the first book to use the philosophy of science in order to examine the epistemological underpinnings of SLA research and evaluate rival theories of SLA. Part One explores the central issues in the philosophy of science, defends rationality against relativists, and offers Guidelines for theory assessment. Part Two examines different theories of SLA and evaluates them in terms of how well they stand up to the Guidelines.