Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Are social and natural sciences connected?

  1. Apr 26, 2008 #1
    Are social and natural sciences connected?
    I would answer yes definitely!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2008 #2
    Well, natural sciences seek to darwinize culture, and social sciences use postmodernist thinking to turn natural sciences into a dogmatic belief system devoid of objectivity.

    Nah, that sounds too pessimistic.
  4. Apr 26, 2008 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    No. Why would you think that? Do you have some point to make?

    I hate to quote wikipedia, but whatever, this doesn't matter.


  5. Apr 26, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Perhaps the "use the scientific method," is the only connection, or maybe it's the observers.
  6. Apr 26, 2008 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Psychology uses the scientific method, so it is a science, although the predictive value of current theories is pretty limited. As far as I can tell political science and sociology don't generally use the scientific method, so I would say they are not.
  7. Apr 26, 2008 #6
    Natural sciences are not really sciences in the strict way of what science objectives are. (Read Karl popper). But humanities and sciences of course are connected.
  8. Apr 26, 2008 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    I disagree. Science is the scientific method, so the natural sciences certainly qualify as sciences.
  9. Apr 26, 2008 #8


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    [*] Astronuc's and related comments are most reasonable.

    [*] Maybe cellular automata is possible but maybe remote relation.

    [*] Mathematics and mathematical modeling occurs in both natural sciencs and social sciences.
  10. Apr 27, 2008 #9
    Popper was a philosopher of science. His work concerns some kind of ideal science that doesn't really exist. Sure falsifiability is a pretty good criterion that we SHOULD follow in formulating hypotheses/theories but the fact is that real scientists just don't think like that.

    We don't always set out to disprove our hypotheses. We usually hypothesize something because we actually think it's true. Also, lots of science doesn't even have an explicit hypothesis. Example: The human genome project had no hypothesis though it was certainly science.
  11. Jun 17, 2008 #10
    It depends on how far down the line you go. For instance, biology is what creates the brain that is examined in psychology as well as sociology. Likewise, chemistry and physics explain how this brain controls the body through the nervous system, muscular system, et cetera. In this way, natural and social sciences are connected. Likewise, if history is a social science, then the physics of the weather most definitely have an impact on the social world. For instance, the Kamikaze saved the Japanese and the weather stopped Spain from being able to invade Great Britain. I think the social sciences and the natural sciences are definitely connected!
  12. Aug 25, 2008 #11
    First of all, "connected"=?

    I think that they are "similar", because both examine cause-effect relationships between different phenomena, using rational inquiry and the rules of logic.

    If by "connected" you mean "often referring to one another" as physics is connected to chemistry, then I agree with Lanka. Social sciences are connected to natural sciences, particularly biology.
    It is about saying "Napoleon Bonaparte's immune system was in the process of mobilizing itself around the battle of Borodino and this is why his leadership then was not as effective as it could have been and (arguably) this led the French Empire to its doom."
  13. Oct 10, 2008 #12
    No, absolutely not. I don't think that there is any point of reference linking the social and natural sciences. In fact, I regard the social sciences to be pseudosciences, as they tend to be based mostly on theory or generalizations. This is particularly the case with the psychiatric industry, in that they over diagnose people with psychological disorders just because they have one or two of the characteristics of that disorder. Either that, or they make the criteria for certain disorders deliberately ambiguous such that anyone can fit the disorder. Look at ADHD...I mean, who among you DOESN'T have things that distract you?? It can easily be said that all of us have a little of that, unless we're androids or something. But particularly the new epidemic which discourages me the most is the autism epidemic. I have a friend who was thought to be AS, but she honestly doesn't fit the mold at all. She is extremely social, and is incredibly athletic. I, too, was also misdiagnosed with it when I was 15, and I am positively the direct antithesis of AS. I am extremely social and very athletic as well. I'm also extremely perceptive when it comes to people - I can predict their ulterior motives and work out their intentions, and I know intimately what kind of a person they are. ANd I'm very good at predicting how a person would respond in a given situation. I'm also extremely good at reading facial expressions, to the point where I can literally read people's minds by their expressions. So I think in this case, it was a bad diagnosis. I will concede that I am very ADHD, am very hyperactive, and am rather disorganized. But that goes more along with ADHD than AS. However, I did develop slightly differently, and it takes me a little longer to learn new information, but when I get it...I become a master at it. However, these findings are consistent with ADHD as well. People with it tend to take longer to learn new things, and they tend to develop slightly differently. ANd there are certainly people with with ADHD who develop at different rates - all people do, really. Unless it's something pronounced, like not being able to talk until age four, or starting to learn how to ride a bike, but not being able to get it down by age 8 - now that's a significant sign of a developmental disability. ANd that's characteristic with autism. Anything else is just a slower learning style, and people can have that without having high-functioning autism and the like. The biggest flaw I find in the methodologies of the social science is their proclivity to make overgeneralizations. They seem to go by the modus that if it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. And that just isn't true - not every characteristic attributed to ADHD or autism IS in fact ADHD/Autism. The social sciences make a fundamental error of attribution in equating individual differences in cognitive perception or behavior with a mental disorder, whilst ignoring the fact that we're all individuals, and we all have our own ways of doing certain things. They also fail to conceive of the fact that just because someone has characteristics of ADHD/autism, doesn't mean that they have ADHD/autism. Correlation does not imply causation. Some people outside of the autism spectrum have these characteristics. Therefore, the whole idea of ascribing paradigmatic constructs to account for individual's behavior is a fallacy laden with contradictions. The human mind is not simple enough to be dissected, analyzed, and circumscribed into precategorical domains of designation. Furthermore, the human mind is too fluid; we do not occupy a static position on a spectrum; we are constantly changing identities and perceptions to accomodate for changing conditions in our environment. Thus, adaptation is mandatory for the evolution of the human consciousness.
  14. Oct 10, 2008 #13
    They are connected, but the burden of evidence in social sciences such as political science, economics, or psychology is a lot lower than the burden of evidence in qualitative natural sciences such as biology and medicine, which are a lot lower than the burden of evidence in quantitative natural sciences such as physics and chemistry.

    So, when you make an assertion backed up by evidence in a social science such as psychology or economics, one can assume that the rigor of the evidence and the reasoning used to support the conclusion is probably a lot lower than it would be in a natural science.
  15. Nov 4, 2008 #14


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I tend to disagree since neuroscience is now discovering how much the natural state of the brain determines social outcomes and visa versa.

    Here are some people who are pursuing a similar study.

    http://www.neurosocieties.eu/members/socialStudiesOfNeuroscienceDirectory.htm [Broken]

    Another direct link between social science and natural science can be found in the study of Nutrition and the fundamental influences it has on the social interactions of individuals and groups.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  16. Aug 22, 2009 #15
    Definitely, postmodernism is much more rampant in the humanities than in the social sciences.
  17. Aug 22, 2009 #16
    I don't care what Wikipedia says. The social sciences were born when philosophy when an empirical base was given to it from the natural sciences -- observation, statistics, experimentation, mathematical rigor (especially, in the case of economics), etc. So they are definitely related by birth. Since nature is considered female, some could argue that the natural sciences was the mother of the social sciences with philosophy as its father?

    Even today, they continue to be related. Chaos theory sweeps through the natural sciences and immediately is applied to the social sciences. Network theory sweeps through physics and takes over social network theory in the social sciences. Systems theory swept through the natural sciences in the 1960's with cybernetics, and soon after, social scientists saw societies, economies, etc. as systems. Neuroscience took over the study of the brain, and psychologists and economists were swept along with it. Should I continue?

    I think it would be better if the social sciences disconnected a bit from the natural sciences, and if some of the ideas from the social sciences flowed into the natural sciences. Ethnography is one idea that seems to be doing reverse pollination successfully in industrial research.
  18. Aug 23, 2009 #17
    How rude! All social sciences use the scientific method, maybe economics less than sociology, political science, and sociology.

    The difference is that while the natural sciences have forgotten about their roots in induction and focus solely on deduction now, the social sciences focus on both. It may be because the social sciences are younger and have yet to reach the same level of maturation, or it may just be a special need given that prediction in the social sciences will probably never achieve the same level of accuracy that the natural sciences has achieved.
  19. Aug 27, 2009 #18

    The natural sciences are, by definition inductive. The quantitative sciences rely heavily on mathematics, which is deductive, but theories and hypothesizes are not considered validated until an attempt at falsification is made (that is, they are tested).

    The qualitative sciences rely less on mathematics, and the social sciences, other than economics, use little mathematics outside the realm of statistics.
  20. Sep 18, 2009 #19
    I think its very important that intellectuals push their ideologies as hard as they can push them.

    In saying that, the world is a set of competing "ideologies" and while there is a diversity of opinion there will be a competition similar to Darwinian Selection which ultimately "culls" the obsessed politically correct "fools" from the system.
  21. Sep 18, 2009 #20


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    What is an "obsessed politically correct fool"?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook