The nature of interpretive consumer research is examined within the context of the contribution to the growth of knowledge played by the proliferation of tenaciously‐held rival theories. Dennett’s intentional stance is contrasted with a contextual stance in which behaviour is controlled by a learning history composed of reinforcing and punishing consequences of similar behaviour previously enacted in similar circumstances. The benefits of this stance are the encouragement of counter hypotheses to intentionality, and the generation of novel data which would otherwise not be available.
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