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Are social Sciences useful?

by Ashera
Tags: sciences, social
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Romulo Binuya
Apr27-14, 03:23 AM
P: 69
Science is about the established rules of empirical, stable, and demonstrable protocol. Social sciences may not be considered science because they are not stable i.e. repeatable experiments that yield same results, but social sciences are useful nonetheless.

For example there is no single all-encompassing definition of the Hawthorne Effect but the experiment provides useful insights. Likewise, management theories such as Theory X Theory Y and MBO maybe has no experimental basis but they provide useful insights too.

Social scientists maybe "physics envy" i.e. the desire to obtain all possible data but considering ethics they can't. The nature vs nurture study was locked in Yale University until 2066, the experiments of Harry Harlow somehow caused the emergence of animal's right movement in America. Just a couple of example of what happen when ethics is considered in social science investigations.
Apr27-14, 10:23 AM
Ryan_m_b's Avatar
P: 5,405
Quote Quote by Romulo Binuya View Post
Science is about the established rules of empirical, stable, and demonstrable protocol. Social sciences may not be considered science because they are not stable i.e. repeatable experiments that yield same results
Not necessarily, many things aren't possible to repeat in a lab setting on demand. The formation of a star for instance. Instead we really on models which we construct from observation and smaller scale experiments. We can then use these models to create predictions and test those predictions by looking at the relevant phenomena in nature.

Social sciences are sciences in the sense that they are all about observation, model building and testing of those models. Hell most social science papers use more rigorous statistical analysis than most fields of biology.
Apr27-14, 01:14 PM
P: 94
Honestly, I think the reason some people don't consider fields such as economics and other related fields to be science is because they don't fit with other more popular preferences on what is a science. When most people think of a scientist, they may think of someone doing work in a lab, and fields such as physics, biology, and chemistry come to mind. When someone thinks of economics, they think of money, not a classical "scientific" idea. In reality, as stated previously, the nature of the work of some social scientists is very similar to many other "scientists" in classic scientific fields, specifically those working with data, and theoretical concepts. I cannot say the same for fields such as law, many concepts are only somewhat repeatable, whereas I could argue that fields like psychology and economics have more solid scientific bases.
Apr27-14, 01:36 PM
P: 558
I think the distinction between the hard and soft sciences is that the former has very specific laws based on very specific isolated variables while the latter has so many variables unaccounted for that the results are very much open to interpretation. And different sciences fall on different spots along the spectrum between hard and soft.
Romulo Binuya
Apr29-14, 12:27 AM
P: 69
Yes both natural sciences and social sciences talk in terms of mathematics. And social sciences must be more rigorous in the calculations to account as much as possible all relevant variables to produce repeatable experiments that yield the same statistics.

There are more reasons to be rigorous considering that even in natural science not all calculations lead to acceptable theories. Example, plasma cosmology is a mathematical extrapolation from the lab to Hubble distance that was proposed by Alfven. I supposed its mathematics is correct as it was done by a Nobel laureate, but it was being rejected because ostensibly the observations don't support it. Just my perspective in comparing natural sciences and social sciences.
Jul12-14, 07:18 AM
P: 6
Social studies are the equivalent of software as computers are hardware. In other words they give us direction (or programs) and without them hardware would exist as do the rocks but would remain purposeless.

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