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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Social Science and its Emergence

Life on our planet has undergone tremendous changes

Changes are spotted in both social and natural world

While we are born , we belong to two world

We are born to natural world and social word

Natural world

All organisms adapt to their environment

No organism can change their environment and habitat

No organism can comprehend it

Social world

Social world is shaped by those born previous generation

Shaped and changed by every new generation

Social world distinguishes humans from other animals

Humans exploit and manipulate their social world

It comes under tremendous changes

Various disciplines were developed to understand social reality

Most social sciences were born out of social turmoil

Most social sciences considers hope to examine social reality

Despite few grand theories, secrets of social life are yet to be uncovered

Social sciences

Insistence on methodology distinguishes it from art,literature,painting,sculpture,philosophy etc

From time to time,art,sculpture,philosophy used tools like intuition,imagination,traditions,rational thought,common sense to uncover secrets of social world,

but such tools far short of accuracy unlike tools of social sciences

Social sciences originated when some social philosophers used scientific methods

Origin of social sciences

Natural sciences tells world has been here for about 6 billion years

Living things for about 3 billion years

But social life takes back to just 2600 years

The origin

The Greek were first to develop a rational theory of social world ,independent of theological creed

Aristotle and Plato were considered accountavle for laying foundation for knowledge as we have it today

Greek thinking and debates are still persuading contemporary societies

Greek believed something has to be created out of nothing,which later became basis of physics and thermodynamics

Plato and Aristotle elaborated truth reality and knowledge and experience during fourth century BC

They proposed that matter can neither be created nor be destroyed but it can only be transformed

They have addressed many issues facing the society in those days and have observed many things

Considered the role of state –political science

The way in which mind ineract with society –psychology

Individual interaction within market-economics

Inshort, history of social science begins with greek

Middle Ages

Religion acquired central place

Religion tied together everything

Musicians made music for god

Sculpture made for gods

Painters painted for god

Literature made for god was study of Bible


The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosophy, art, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual inquiry. Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method in study, and searched for realism and human emotion in art.

The period following fall of Constantinople on 1453 to end of 17th century were referred rebirth of Greek classics

During this period social philosophy led to separate disciplines

Renaissance provoked tensions and challenges to churches

Scholars come to conclusions contrary to those of churches

Rationalist thought placed reason above everything

Through out renaissance ,rationalism replaced relion as organizing principle of knowledge

Various fields of knowledge became divided on rationalist lines

However rationalist revolution came later to humanities

Natural sciences and philosophy were divided along modes of enquiry


Period which replaced religion as organizing principle of knowledge

As a recognized and organized practice social science originated with origin of nation state with the political demands for analyses and classification of individual and population

-a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and man were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics. Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and the celebration of reason, the power by which man understands the universe and improves his own condition. The goals of rational man were considered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness.

Development of Natural Sciences

By the age of enlightenment natural sciences were developed based on mode of enquiry

Natural sciences were separated out of social philosophy and became independent branches

The mode of enquiry developed was scientific

All knowledge to be focused under scientific studies were to be sensible to human senses and all things which did not fall to our senses were considered not as part of knowledge

Scientific methodologies were developed during this period

Isaac Newton and his gravitation, Francis Bacon, Descartes were prominent among them.

Industrial Revolution

Industrial revolution on 18th century were instrumental in development of social sciences

Due to industrial revolution-

1. Family system changes which led to development of Sociology

2. The tensions and stresses created due to change in family system formed way for Psychology

3. The change in production system and market relations formed way for Economics

4. Development of nation state system paved way for Anthropology

Positivist movement

August Comte in his Positive Philosophy emphasized that social science research can be organized in the similar way research organized in the natural sciences

The methods of natural sciences can be applied in the social world too.

He said it as social physics

The data obtained in the social sciences through scientif enquiry can be called social fact.

Social sciences in 21st century

In the 21st century social sciences have become interdisciplinary

There is no clear boundaries that separate social scienes as of now

All social sciences are interdependent

Teaching oints prepared by Biju P R,Assitant Professor,Dept.of Political Science,GBC,Tly.

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