Are social "Sciences" useful?


by Ashera
Tags: sciences, social
Ashera
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#1
Jan28-14, 07:33 PM
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Now I myself don't consider "social sciences" as a type of science... but do you think it's useful or not? I don't think it's as useful as say: nature science or computer science.
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lisab
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Jan28-14, 08:26 PM
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IMO, social sciences are tools. Whether a tool is useful or not depends on what you're trying to fix. If the problem you're trying to fix needs a tool in the social science toolbox, then yes social sciences are extremely useful.
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Jan28-14, 08:39 PM
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Quote Quote by lisab View Post
IMO, social sciences are tools. Whether a tool is useful or not depends on what you're trying to fix. If the problem you're trying to fix needs a tool in the social science toolbox, then yes social sciences are extremely useful.
Good answer.

Enigman
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Jan28-14, 08:49 PM
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Are social "Sciences" useful?


Quote Quote by lisab View Post
IMO, social sciences are tools. Whether a tool is useful or not depends on what you're trying to fix. If the problem you're trying to fix needs a tool in the social science toolbox, then yes social sciences are extremely useful.
Sometimes though, there are no problems and only sculptures to sculpt (ok, well unearth...)
And don't tell me that there even needs to be an utility for things like:
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/scienc...ing-180949482/
256bits
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#5
Jan29-14, 04:13 AM
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Wiki again
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_sciences

lists the following as being social sciences:
Environmental Studies
Anthropology
Area studies
Business studies
Communication studies
Criminology
Demography
Development studies
Economics
Education
Geography
History
Industrial relations
Information science
Law
Library science
Linguistics
Media studies
Political science
Psychology
Public administration
Sociology
Social work

I am not sure if you are asking if it is useful in calling them "social sciences" or if "social sciences" are useful.
In any case, regardless of the term used, from the list, I would say they do have a profound impact, some of them directly, upon your life.
Hornbein
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#6
Jan29-14, 12:33 PM
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Quote Quote by Ashera View Post
Now I myself don't consider "social sciences" as a type of science... but do you think it's useful or not? I don't think it's as useful as say: nature science or computer science.
Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.

-- Pablo Picasso
StatGuy2000
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#7
Jan30-14, 12:20 PM
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Quote Quote by 256bits View Post
Wiki again
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_sciences

lists the following as being social sciences:
Environmental Studies
Anthropology
Area studies
Business studies
Communication studies
Criminology
Demography
Development studies
Economics
Education
Geography
History
Industrial relations
Information science
Law
Library science
Linguistics
Media studies
Political science
Psychology
Public administration
Sociology
Social work

I am not sure if you are asking if it is useful in calling them "social sciences" or if "social sciences" are useful.
In any case, regardless of the term used, from the list, I would say they do have a profound impact, some of them directly, upon your life.
It's interesting that history is included as a social science, as I would personally consider history to be part of the humanities. And "area studies" (e.g. East Asian studies, Latin American studies, etc.), depending on the nature of the program, can encompass both the social sciences (with a focus on research in political science, economics, anthropology, law, sociology, geography, etc.) and the humanities (with a focus on the language, literature, and arts of the given area of focus).

As far as the OP is concerned, the very question is non-sensical. What makes any particular field of study "useful"? Are we to imply that if one cannot directly apply the knowledge gleaned from the field, then the field is not "useful"?

Perhaps this is expressing my bias, but the pursuit of knowledge in of itself is valuable and thus "useful", whether that be in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, biological sciences, or mathematical sciences.
Adderall
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Feb11-14, 05:54 PM
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Quote Quote by Ashera View Post
Now I myself don't consider "social sciences" as a type of science... but do you think it's useful or not? I don't think it's as useful as say: nature science or computer science.
You might have a point in arguing over the usage of the word science. But asking if social sciences are useful is like asking if statistics is useful.
Adderall
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#9
Feb11-14, 06:29 PM
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Quote Quote by StatGuy2000 View Post
As far as the OP is concerned, the very question is non-sensical. What makes any particular field of study "useful"? Are we to imply that if one cannot directly apply the knowledge gleaned from the field, then the field is not "useful"?
The question might make sense if the OP had just learned that, for example, evolutionary theory is chock-full of just-so stories and racist junk science. Perhaps s/he was suddenly filled with doubt about the credibility of ANY discipline that attempts to analyze society and its many thingings.

OP, were you asking something more like "in social sciences, is it possible for the truth to rise to the surface when it's so incredibly easy to assume your conclusion then work backward and contort datasets to fit whatever you like since human psychology and thus society is so complex that it resists complete analysis?"? I would say probably, but it's bleak, but we should try anyway!
Jakeness
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#10
Feb24-14, 02:09 PM
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Quote Quote by lisab View Post
IMO, social sciences are tools. Whether a tool is useful or not depends on what you're trying to fix. If the problem you're trying to fix needs a tool in the social science toolbox, then yes social sciences are extremely useful.
This line of thought is merely affirming the consequent.
arildno
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#11
Feb25-14, 09:48 AM
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As long as money comes streaming in, "social sciences" is a useful structure for feeding people within that profession.
MathematicalPhysicist
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#12
Feb25-14, 11:54 PM
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No. And because my answer is too short, I need to write this message, I also don't think that business school is useful, but they may call me radical.
Adderall
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Mar1-14, 12:06 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno View Post
As long as money comes streaming in, "social sciences" is a useful structure for feeding people within that profession.
I don't get it. Creating a workable welfare program is literally impossible without sociology, which I assume has to be a social science, given the name an' all. Welfare helps prevent poor people from starving, which is a Good Thing. Which social sciences do you have beef with, exactly?

Quote Quote by MathematicalPhysicist View Post
No. And because my answer is too short, I need to write this message, I also don't think that business school is useful, but they may call me radical.
Economics is useful. Business school is not.
Pythagorean
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Mar1-14, 09:18 AM
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Of course social sciences are useful. At the very least, there is a lot of useful stamp collecting going on in the social sciences. Data that we can analyze to see what programs and policies are most effective (or ineffective as it may be). And from there, we can make predictions about a culture (or demograph's) nature:

incentive X tend to lead to outcome Y

Then when several different cultures have collected such data, we can see how often X and Y are similar across cultures. And then we can look at biologists and anthropologist data on primates and other mammals and see how X and Y vary as you become more genetically disparate from humans. Then we can look to evolutionary neuroscience and see if structures in the brain associated with the X/Y behaviors have homologies that compare well to the varying X and Y across species and posit some behavior as an evolved adaptation.

The trick now is just making the qualities X and Y quantifiable without leaving too much wiggle room.
ty1
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Mar3-14, 09:52 PM
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I think its a question of pseudoscience vs science.
nazarbaz
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T, 08:47 AM
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The worst thing I ever saw in my intelectual journey was a bunch of engineers, physicists and medical practitioners trying to think about society, humanities and art... A really awfull spectacle...
Life, I mean "we", are not a technology...
micromass
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T, 09:36 AM
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Quote Quote by Ashera View Post
Now I myself don't consider "social sciences" as a type of science... but do you think it's useful or not? I don't think it's as useful as say: nature science or computer science.
Parts of natural sciences and computer science are completely useless too!

Now, I don't think social sciences are sciences. But you can't deny that they are very useful. Many of these social sciences have very important applications. Where would our society be without psychologists for example?

Sure, there are things like history too which tend to have much less practical applications. But then again, practical applications are everything! The pursuit of knowledge is the most important thing that humanity can do. We are born to pursue knowledge, even if it's just for the knowledge.

Nowadays, there is this trend that everything must be applicable and immediately useful. If it's not, then it's immediately seen as a waste of time. I much prefer the ancient Greeks were knowledge was seen as something sacred and where the pursuit of knowledge was the most important thing one could do.
ZapperZ
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It is quite interesting about having this debate here, considering the assault put on by the Republican members in the US congress to severely cut funding for the social science section of the National Science Foundation.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2...ience-research

Certainly, there are many members of the US congress who also do not see the importance of social science research.

There are many societal issues that face us every day, and politicians often make claims of such-and-such a thing will cause this-and-that. There are people who say that violent, explicit music will cause disruptive kids, there are people claiming that providing condoms to high school kids promote promiscuity, etc.. etc. You will notice that many of these are statements uttered by politicians and talking heads are seldom backed by any kind of valid, careful research. It is as of just simply stating these things make them true!

Social scientists are intimately involved in these types of studies. They look at societal behavior, the changes in human interactions, and what factors are not only correlated with these changes, but also the cause-and-effect of these changes. In other words, many of these talking heads simply do not like these types of studies because they could easily falsify many of the fallacies that these people have been spewing, or at the very least, reveal the glaring fact that these claims have no solid evidence to back them.

Many of our policies, regulations, and laws are put into place because of human behavior and the consequences of those behavior. I would think that you'd want something to be decided not just because some politician said so, or some TV personality said so.

Or maybe you don't care about any kind of valid evidence......

Zz.


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