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What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that makes them convincing? Essay

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Updated: Jun 15th, 2018

Introduction

Since time immemorial philosophy has undergone tremendous metamorphosis. The developed world has revered the development in science over any other society, eventually putting theories of science and those scientists on a scale higher than their counter parts in lower cadres of society for example state machineries or entrepreneurial men and women of the day. Generally, human sciences study the ‘globe’ that mankind establishes and lives in, while the natural sciences research on the physical universe (Berlin, 1997).

This poses the question: why are the sciences and the theories they dismiss normally looked at in such a superior way? How, and with what outcomes and repercussions, do both the duo as fields of knowledge use means like observing, gathering of experimental facts, and usually the application of research methods, in the designing of theories? The major distinction in the ways in which two fields of understanding try to reach their inference too is the source of the variation in the manner in which they persuade or convince others.

How are they different in the real sense? Finally, on what grounds can the society bank on knowing through research in the coming up with factual, dependable, and theories that can convince others?

To start with, I will first clearly give the meanings of some key concepts used in this essay. Philosophy can be defined as a science of the study of events that cannot be proven through experimental knowledge (Berlin, 1997).The parameters applied in measuring anything to be regarded as a theory in the field of science is that, it must be an ideology or assertion that can describe, explain and/or is forecasting in nature.

It is founded on possible intelligent guesses that are supported with facts, and that are consistent with the present knowledge. The main idea here is that, theories in the sciences should by way of their formulation, be able to be seen as wrong. In this sense, theories in their meaning can not be seen as entirely true; at their top way of thinking cannot be dispelled by the critics of the theory.

The conception of theories by this school of thought is the focal point of this essay. The next borne of controversy in defining is the phrase ‘convincing’. A theory that will be able to convince the other scientists can be defined as one that can withstand the critics and effectively influence others to accept it as true.

All of us are aware that theories in science are not reliable. Therefore, it begs the question: Why are some theories so persuading that individuals have started viewing them as being right? They do not accord these theories the weight they deserve. The rationale is that people believe in the scientific approach that researchers apply to come up with their theories and draw conclusion based on them.

The scientific approach for the hard or what is commonly known as natural sciences is based mostly on logic as the way of knowing. This approach tries to ascertain the observed realities and therefore, have dependable and findings that can be replicated, a phenomenon in which more participants come in and built upon other scientists work with the rationale of explaining the universe based on objectivism school of thought.

In chemical sciences, we have a number of theories; among them is the collision theory, which gives a qualitative in sight as to why reactions involving chemicals happen, and why the rates of reaction are not the same for many reactions. Practical tests performed by the scientists all showed similar findings; as the concentration of the reagents increased, so did the rate of reaction.

As much as this can be agreeably an exceptionally simplified analysis on the issue, it depicts one of the strong points of the scientific approach and the theories that emanate from them: several experiments will all arrive at the same outcomes, with every effective experiment improving the theory even more. In this manner, natural sciences theories are persuading because of the way in which the theories are developed. The power to convince lies in experiment (Ludwig, 1996).

On one hand theories in natural sciences are convincing when the findings of the trials or observations are coherent and in consensus after some period of time. On the other hand, basically theories in human sciences cannot rely on their theories on the aspect as human beings (the subject under investigation) cannot be relied on to behave completely in a similar manner.

At one hundred degrees other factors held constant water is expected to boil; similar observations cannot be expected to happen with people or societies, this is true if they are subjected to the same environments.

Nevertheless, in some instances also performing experiments are said to be impossible. A social scientist in the field of economics having put forward his thoughts about possible intelligent guesses on how the masses respond to a recession can not just proclaim the collapse of the economy as a justification for it. The innate distinctions between the natural and human sciences still abound.

The earlier mentioned challenges explain it all. It is close to impossible for a theory in human sciences seeking to explain or forecast what will take place the same way in each and every single case like in the natural sciences. On the contrary, theories in the soft sciences aspire to ascertain common guidelines in the way people in society behave and the general functioning of the society.

Therefore, while a successful theory in the natural sciences relies heavily on agreement and also on the accuracy of the findings, theories in the human sciences are accepted if they are emphatic on conclusions based on observed aspects, with measures put in place to curtail any inferences that are drawn that might not be in tandem with the study conducted.

As far as we know, theories in human sciences are not based on results being replicated or the level of uniformity of the findings as such on the concept of how convincing the theory is likely to be (Ludwig, 1965).

Coming to the question: What is it, about theories in the human sciences that can make them convincing? This is where intuition as a fashion of knowledge plays a significant role. Our emotion and intuition are always there when describing how a theory can convince, irrespective of the proponents of the theory or not.

As human beings, we have an instinct to know, we are bound to analyze philosophies presented to us; one of the ways of analysis is examining if a particular theory is right (however as aforementioned theories cannot be verified as right, people can presuppose that the most convincing theories are the ones taken to be not false).

Experiments aimed at arriving at an agreement, connections, and to some point, common sense, can be taken to apply in the theories in the fields- natural and human sciences (Ludwig, 1996). On the basis of consistency, theories in human sciences score highly on the ability of convincing others.

Theories in human sciences try to explain or foresee the behaviour of human beings; humans can more easily believe theories that are consistent with what they instinctively feel to be right, or in a similar fashion, measures up to their own individual consistency analysis on how people behave in particular circumstances.

Examining the two theories gives a basis for arriving at a consensus on the power of persuasion of the two. It is presumed that theories in the human sciences can be equated to human beings, which is not ultimately the assumption.

The assertion that, the logical and sensible nature of the scientific process is what persuades people to a large extent: several theories in natural science too can be investigated to arrive at some concrete evidence. How about these theories? The purpose of influence and the manner, in which a theory is put forward in establishing the convincing ability of theories, whether in the human sciences or the natural sciences, should be taken into account.

Although, people are said to be entirely correct in their line of thinking and in the assessment of knowledge, it has been established that many people have inadequate basic knowledge needed to present such assessments. While people are made to appear stupid by reasoning that they are convinced entirely on a rational ground, in the real sense, they are just putting their belief in the faith of the scientists to make these allegations (Windus, 2000).

In conclusion, the capability of either theories in the natural sciences or those in the human sciences to convince can be described in various ways. It can be iniquitous to dispel the power of the lucid nature that the theories in their capacity to persuade the mass- the forecasting and coherence of the findings in particular theories depict the forte of the method in science in advancing theories.

However, to a layman in scientific method, reasoning in this line of knowledge is indeed penchant that people know much about the theories. But, in real sense, they could be basically putting their faith in scientific facts to inform others, that which can convince or not (Straus, 1954).

References

Berlin, I. (1997). The Proper Study of Mankind: An Anthology of Essays, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Ludwig, M. (1965), Social Science and Natural Science, London: Oxford University Press.

Straus, R. (1954). Philosophy and Beliefs, London: Oxford University Press.

Windus, C. (2000). The Power of Ideas, London: Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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IvyPanda. "What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that makes them convincing?" June 15, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-it-about-theories-in-the-human-sciences-and-natural-sciences-that-makes-them-convincing/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that makes them convincing?" June 15, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-it-about-theories-in-the-human-sciences-and-natural-sciences-that-makes-them-convincing/.

References

IvyPanda. (2018) 'What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that makes them convincing'. 15 June.

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