Keywords - bear market, behaviourism, nature-nurture, reductionism, holism, loaded question, mirror test, trends and laws, Verstehen position
Human science can include psychology, economics, anthropology and sociology. They are based on observation and seek to discover laws and theories about human nature.
Positive and normative statements - As such the human sciences have a prescriptive or normative aspect as well as a descriptive or positive aspect.
Observation - Human science is a science in that it is based on observation. But, although you can observe other people's behaviour, you cannot directly observe their minds.
Loaded questions - A loaded question, which contains a hidden assumption, may encourage people to answer in one way rather than another.
The observer effect - If a psychologist is observing people, they may become nervous or embarrassed by the attention and this may lead to them changing their behaviour.
Measurement - It is generally more difficult to measure things in the human sciences than in the natural sciences
The Milgram experiment - Stanley Milgram was interested in the extent to which people are willing to obey orders
Zimbardo experiment - Zimbardo's Stanford Prison experiment used role play to investigate how the situations in which people were put might change their behaviour.
Law of large numbers - which says that in a large population, random variations tend to cancel out. The law of large numbers enables us to predict group rather than individual behaviour.
Trends and laws - A trend shows the direction in which a variable is moving
Verstehen position - The main aim of the human sciences is to understand the meaning of various social practices from the inside as they are understood by the agents themselves.
Reductionism - Seeking to explain some subjects in terms of other more fundamental ones.
Holism - Making sense of things by observing them as a whole - its central claim is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts
Causation - The belief that every event has a cause is not so much an empirical one that can be verified or falsified by evidence as a metaphysical one about the nature of ultimate reality
Determinism - According to this the universe operates in accordance with the causal principle that every event has a cause.
Complexities and challenges of studying human beings - Individuals are not identical in how they behave or think, and no two societies are same - Individuals and groups are enmeshed in complex webs of causal variables - What or how human beings think is not directly observable - People react to being observed, changing their behaviour in numerous possible ways, and changing their attitudes - Human scientists have to take into account their own humanity as they construct their methods to guard against their own personal responses and biases - Human scientists must take into account the effect of their methods of investigation on their subject matter
?? To what extent are the methods of the natural sciences applicable in the human sciences?
?? Are the findings of the natural sciences as reliable as those of thehuman sciences?
?? To what extent can empathy, intuition and feeling be legitimate ways of knowing in the human sciences?
?? To what extent can information in the human sciences be quantified?
?? Do knowledge claims in the human sciences imply ethical responsibilities?
?? To what extent do the knowledge claims of the social sciences apply across different historical periods and cultures?
?? Can we use a scientific approach with humans?
?? Are the findings of the natural sciences as reliable as those of the human sciences? What is the meaning of “a scientific law” in each area?
?? To what extent do you think your teachers' expectations about your abilities affect how well you do at school?
?? Do you think that mental states, such as happiness or depression, can affect our physical well-being?
?? To what extent do you find the behaviour of your friends and family predictable?
?? Is there room for both logic and emotion in business?
?? Is business an art or a science? What is the role of creativity in business, and how is it manifested?
?? To what extent do the human sciences offer any of the following: scientific laws, recognition of general patterns and tendencies, prediction of the future? To what extent do they offer insight or understanding?
?? How can a social scientist avoid becoming emotionally involved?
?? To what extent do you think you can change your character, and to what extent do you think you just have to live with it?
"Those who have knowledge, dont predict. Those who predict, dont have knowledge." Lao Tzu
The social sciences are good at accounting for disasters once they have taken place" Claude T Bissell
"If it cannot be expressed in figures, its not science; it is opinion." Lazarus Long
"Life is heredity plus environment." Luther Burbank
"An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday did happen today." Laurence J Peter
"Human behaviour makes most sense when it is explained in terms of beliefs and desires, not in terms of volts and grams." Steven Pinker
"We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself." Carl Jung