Interactions: Some Contacts between the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences

Interactions: Some Contacts between the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences

by I. Bernard Cohen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0262531240

ISBN-13: 9780262531245

Pub. Date: 11/29/1994

Publisher: MIT Press

One of the fruits of the Scientific Revolution was the idea of a social science - a science of government, of individual behavior, and of society - that would operate in ways comparable to the newly triumphant natural sciences. Thus was set in motion a long and often convoluted chain of two-way interactions that still have implications for both scholarship and

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Overview

One of the fruits of the Scientific Revolution was the idea of a social science - a science of government, of individual behavior, and of society - that would operate in ways comparable to the newly triumphant natural sciences. Thus was set in motion a long and often convoluted chain of two-way interactions that still have implications for both scholarship and public policy. This book, by the dean of American historians of science, offers an excellent historical perspective on these interactions.The core of the book consists of two long essays. The first focuses on the role of analogies as linking factors between the two realms. Examples are drawn from the physics of rational mechanics and energy physics (in relation to marginalist or neoclassical economics) and from the biology of the cell theory (in relation to nineteenth-century sociology). The second essay looks closely at the relations between the natural and the social sciences in the period of the Scientific Revolution.The book also includes a record of a series of conversations between the author and Harvey Brooks (Professor of Technology and Public Policy Emeritus at Harvard) that addresses the present-day public policy implications of the historical interactions between the natural and the social sciences. A short but illuminating history of the terms "natural science" and "social science" concludes the book.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262531245
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
11/29/1994
Pages:
226
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1An Analysis of Interactions between the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences1
1.3Types of Interaction11
1.4Analogy and Homology15
1.5Metaphor28
1.6Roles of Analogy35
1.7Rational Mechanics and Marginalist Economics38
1.8Biological Theory and Social Theory48
1.9Incorrect Science, Imperfect Replication, and the Transformation of Scientific Ideas61
1.10Inappropriate or Useless Analogies66
2The Scientific Revolution and the Social Sciences101
2.1The "New Science" and the Sciences of Society101
2.2The Seventeenth-Century Goal of a Social Science in Mathematical Form (Grotius, Spinoza, Vauban)108
2.3Political Arithmetic and Political Anatomy (Graunt and Petty)114
2.4An Independent "Civil" Science based on Motion (Hobbes)118
2.5The Notion of a Balance: A Social Science based on the New Physiology (Harrington)124
3A Conversation with Harvey Brooks on the Social Sciences, the Natural Sciences, and Public Policy153
A Note on "Social Science" and on "Natural Science"189
Index201

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