Natural Science Vs Social Sciences

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To explain a specific differentiation of natural and social sciences one has to understand what ‘science’ as a concept or an instance is exactly. Chalmers (1999) attempts to create a general idea of scientific knowledge, examining that science is not based on personal opinions, but rather constructed through factual knowledge (p. xx). Science, therefore, constructs itself from facts to theories which emerge from specific observations, the key of scientific knowledge (p. 1). This view is shared by two diverse theories: the empiricist and positivist thought. Empiricism is the idea, that knowledge is composed by sense perception, positivism is based on facts of experience that lead to a knowable world (p. 1). Thus, the intentions of science are…show more content…
25), nevertheless, it is specifically divided into the activities of social and natural sciences. Why, then, is this difference made? Flyvbjerg mentions the Dreyfus model, which implies that the idea of scientific meaning cannot be adopted into social phenomena (p. 25). Scientific theories, therefore, are not applicable in similar ways to social sciences. Furthermore, natural science is constructed with a logical simplicity creating a paradigm that masters “over nature, technology and own life” (p. 26). The key concepts of this paradigm, moreover, are the acts of explanation and predictions (p. 26). Nonetheless, the specifically explainable and observable “firm ground” of natural science is opposing the view of social science being immeasurable and, especially, unpredictable (p. 27). Flyvbjerg describes this as a hermeneutic, the specific interpretation of a studied object. While the sociologist Max Weber argues that the hermeneutic act is only applicable to social sciences because of its historical conditions, Flyvbjerg examines that natural science is also conditioned in a historical sense (p. 28). Interpretations, therefore, are adaptable to multiple scientific activities according to him. This examination explains the theory of the “universality of hermeneutics” (p. 28), which emphasizes the diversity and differences of social and natural sciences through their

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