The Differences Between Popular Science Disciplines

1536 words - 6 pages

Positivism was the ideology that initially underpinned all disciplines of early sciences and describes a belief that the complete objective truth can be reached. Natural scientists today hold the universal belief that a truth can repeatedly be exampled until it is falsified by way of methodical research, indicating a positivist approach which incorporates an objective reality. However as time and advancements has progressed, social scientists have embraced the ideology of probabilism. This is the notion that where the subject matter incorporates numerous anomalies and contingencies, the appropriate action is to downsize the explanations to accurately fit the probabilities of the work (Duus-Otterström 2009, p. 576). Human nature is defined by individuality, free will and a multitude of differing social circumstances, therefore our ability to explain or predict behaviour has definite limits (Duus-Otterström 2009, p.574). Probabilism minimises the definite or positivistic ideologies and changes the ‘always’ and ‘never’ to ‘more’ or ‘less likely’ (Goodin & Klingemann 2009, cited in Duus-Otterström 2009, p.576). This probabilistic view which results in more modest conclusions might project the accuracy of knowledge promoted within the social sciences as hollow or without substance as it possibly appears as indeterminate. Whereas the core knowledge of the natural sciences, determined from a positivistic ideology, may be interpreted as more robust and certain.
The probabilistic view of social scientists is evident in the metaphenomenal discourse within the discipline. The functional roles within a field of study or work are characterised by discipline specific terminology and due to the work of social scientists, with the ideologies of probabilism and objectivity, their conclusions are possibly deemed to be more claims and speculations opposed to perceived modalities and ‘factual’ claims of the natural sciences. A study of textbooks from sociology, economics and physics (Moore 2002) examined the use of language within each of the respective disciplines. The conclusions from the analysis suggested important influences relating to the social construction of knowledge within the disciplines. Firstly, the use of metaphenomenal processes in verb forms used within the different fields varied greatly. Sociology text consisted of 252 and the most common verbs were argue, see, suggest and believe. Economics held 55 and the most common were call, say, represent and define. Physics held 105 and the common verbs were define, represent and state (Moore 2002. p.354). And secondly, the use of nominal forms describing the propositional content in the texts varied greatly. Sociology comprised of 130 and the words used were view, theory and perspective. Economics comprised of 31 and the common words were concept, definition and model. Physics comprised of 95 and the most common words were law, definition and statement (Moore 2002, p.355). Although economics is regarded...

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