The Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences: Some Critical and Historical Perspectives / Edition 1

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Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences contains a series of explorations of the different ways in which the social sciences have interacted with the natural sciences. Usually, such interactions are considered to go only 'one way': from the natural to the social sciences. But there are several important essays in this volume which show how developments in the social sciences have affected the natural sciences - even the 'hard' science of physics. Other essays deal with various types of interaction since the Scientific Revolution.
In his general introductory chapter, Cohen sets some general themes concerning analogies and homologies and the use of metaphors, drawing specific examples from the use of concepts of physics by marginalist economists and of developments in the life sciences by organismic sociologists. The remaining chapters, which explore the different ways in which the social sciences and the natural sciences have actually interacted, are written by leaders in the field of history of science, drawn from a wide range of countries and disciplines.
The book will be of great interest to all historians of science, philosophers interested in questions of methodology, economists and sociologists, and all social scientists concerned with the history of their subject and its foundations.

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Table of Contents

Foreword; B. Barber. Preface; I.B. Cohen. Part One: Introduction. One. An Analysis of Interactions btween the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences; I.B. Cohen. Part Two: Perspectives on the Relations between the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences. Two. How Numerical Sociology began by Counting Suicides: from Medical Pathology to Social Pathology; I. Hacking. Three. Probabilistic Thinking, the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences: Changing Configurations 1800-1850; B.-P. Lecuyer. Part Three: Some Influences of the Natural Sciences on the Social Sciences. Four. The Scientific Revolution and the Social Sciences; I.B. Cohen. Five. Blackstone's Newtonian Dissent; N.M. Swerdlow. Six. From Political Economy to Market Mechanics: the Jevonian Moment in the History of Economics; M. Schabas. Seven. The Technology of Nature: Marx's Thoughts on Darwin; G. Pancaldi. Eight. Towards the Social Organism: Herbert Spencer & William B. Carpenter on the Analogical Method; V.L. Hilts. Part Four: Some Influences of the Social Sciences on the Natural Sciences. Nine. Darwin and Agronomists: an Influence of Political Economy on Scientific Thought; S.S. Schweber. Ten. Milne-Edwards, Darwin, Durkheim and the Division of Labor: a Case Study in Reciprocal Conceptual Exchanges between the Social and Natural Sciences; C. Limoges. Eleven. From Quetelet to Maxwell: Social Statistics and the Origins of Statistical Physics; T. Porter. Part Four: Conclusion. Twelve. A Conversation with Harvey Brooks on The Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences in the Light of Current Policy Questions. Index.
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