woensdag 15 april 2009

Are the soft sciences harder than the hard sciences?

The two sciences 'hard' and 'soft' are both used when comparing in the fields of scholarship or academic research.

The "harder" sciences meaning is perceived as being more scientific, rigorous, or accurate. Characterized as relying on experimental, empircal, quantifiable data or the scientific method, and focusing on accuracy and objectivity. Hard science in other words is the physical sciences. Physics, chemistry, biology and geology are all forms of "hard" science.

The field of "soft" science is used to refer to a natural science, usually used in words and phrases if they imply dissaprovel or contempt. Implying that a particular natural science topic described as "soft" does not belong to the field of natural science. Soft science is the social science, including history, econmoics, ecology... (some info taken from wikipedia)

The main idea is that, the differences aside, the one thing that the soft and hard sciences have in common is that they both seek to answer questions using the scientific method. There is a little less scientific method in the softer sciences, but the scientific method is there. In fact, there is a lot of debate going on between the hard and the soft sciences. Scientists compete with one another to see whose style of science is the hardest.

Jared Diamond attempted to 'question the commonly held prejudice that the human sciences are somehow easier or less rigorous than their natural science cousins.' The case that he tries to confront is vague from what I have read from the exert, a bit too little information to relate to this subject. I still think hard science are real sciences eventhough soft science are harder to measure. Jared does have a point but do not fully agree with it, because maybe our lives are just one chemical reaction therefore by hard science we can influence our state of mind. Hard science is better in seeking truth, I mean you can't question math, there is basicly one truth in math for example 1+1=2. With soft sciences there can be different truths, since truths are ever changing.
What if hard science enter the realm of soft sciences by mapping out the chemicals that influence the brain?

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