Popper's Theory of the Searchlight : A Historical Assessment of Its Significance

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    On the basis of a correspondence between Karl Popper and the Dutch psychologist Adriaan de Groot, it is argued that the former's epistemology of the searchlight is historically rooted in early cognitive psychology of Otto Selz. It is furthermore argued that Popper's later critique of information processing psychology is the fruit of his assimilation of Selz's evolutionarily inspired program. In light of the current interest in evolutionary approaches to the mind, it is argued that this Popper—Selz program is as actual as ever.