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Social science finally achieves irrelevance


In “Why Social Science Risks Irrelevance,” danah boyd at Chronicle Review:

My path of inquiry, like that of most scientists, was shaped by the context in which I was operating. As a queer woman trying to sort out sexuality and identity, questions about gender felt natural. I was also a computer scientist at the time, but I knew that computer-science methods could not help me answer my question. So I embarked on a path that forced me to learn psychology, cognitive science, and gender studies. And, as a result, I began a lifelong battle to define my disciplinary identity. Am I a sociologist? An anthropologist? An internet-studies scholar? In the process, I quickly realized that I queered my disciplinary identity as a way of resolving my gender identity and sexuality. More.

Madam, why on earth do you think anyone cares? Government may force taxpayers to fund whatever you are doing and to choke out the words that it is “science.” But not to care.

The rock that will sink Boyd’s ship is that no one does care. Science is about something other than oneself.

See also: Who wants to pay taxes for social sciences?


EMS Crying Towel! Liberals attacking social sciences

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Only the statistical content of social sciences seems to share a methodology with empirical science. Economics is another field that covets its 'cachet', only for it later to be discovered to lead its proponents up the garden path. Much to the amusement of Nassim Taleb. Human nature is too immeasurably complex and subtle to lend itself to scientific analysis and tabulation, beyond the scope of statistical observations. Medical advances require a level of ratiocination way above the ultra pedestrian, mechanistic, Meccano-like, empirical fiddle-faddle of classical physics. But, then, that was probably always true even in in the sphere of classical physics. Axel
Yes, very much. "Social Science" was invented in the late 1800s basically to support Socialism as a Scientific solution to what had previously been mere History or Politics. Social Science has spent the last 100 years or so continuously demonstrating that it is NOT, and never was, "science". But, hey, if you give me a big enough grant, I'll write you a report that says anything you like is Science. mahuna

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