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

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Introduction

What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that makes them convincing? Our lives are becoming more reliant on scientific theories and we have placed scientist leaders above many other business and political leaders. We take scientific theories as ?the dominant cognitive paradigm? of knowledge? and we see an idea to be ?definitely true? should it be ?scientifically proven?. This raises the knowledge issue: to what extent is scientific theories held in a higher regard in relation to others? And to what extent do these areas of knowledge - natural and social sciences - use observation, evidence and the scientific method - in establishing scientific theories? Finally, we ought to ask to what extent can we depend on scientific method for true, reliable, and ?convincing? theories? I define a ?convincing? theory as one that is capable of overriding opposition and effectively earning the trust of others. As Feynman defines, the premise of science is based on inductivism, where the scientific method of observations, reasons and experiments ensures controllability, measurability and repeatability. Deductive logic is key to the theories in the natural sciences, its apparently watertight syllogism allows a claim to be undermined and disputed; hence, a scientific claim is characterized to "lend itself to scrutiny and rigorous testing? [which] accounts for the enormous and rapid progress made by science? (Alchin, 2006, 17). ...read more.

Middle

Consciousness and emotions in the social sciences are claimed to cause great obstacles in establishing convincing theories because perception can be coloured by strong emotions and make us ?blinded? by belief. The very difference in the involvement of object and subject in the natural sciences and the social sciences respectively, defies the kind of predictability that we can expect of molecules, atoms and larger inanimate objects. While qualitative data can be gathered in the natural sciences, it is claimed that human sciences are more difficult to measure because there exist no discrete units for measuring emotions and thoughts e.g. a continuous stream of consciousness. The incredibly unpredictable nature of the social sciences prevents laws and theories to accurately support the claims in the social sciences. Therefore, while consistency creates sustainable theories in the natural sciences, the human sciences are more focused on observations and the general behavioral patterns of the society in rendering its theories ?convincing?. As a knower, I like to challenge and evaluate whether a theory is true (it can be assumed that the theories closest to truth, are most likely to be the most convincing theories). ...read more.

Conclusion

The investigation by Weisberg[4] proved the extent of vulnerability in humans; it discovered that adding a line of ?neurobabble?[5] to a scientific theory effectively adds to the convincing nature of the theory. Our partiality for believing that we can fully understand a topic without a fundamental knowledge of it, leads us to consent all scientific theories, which may very well be not ?true?, solely because a ?respectable? scientist proposed these theories. ?Knowledge-by-authority? effectively convinces us because we tend to believe and trust the leading scientific figures to put forward, what we believe to be, the right judgments. It is most evident that theories in both the natural sciences and the human sciences are convincing depends on multiple factors; the repeatable, consistent and predictable nature of results in the natural sciences proves to be the core strength of the scientific method in deducing ?convincing? theories. However, for the normal knower with insufficient knowledge in the fields of science, we also believe in and are thoroughly convinced by the theories of the sciences due to our tendency to place all our trust in leading figures for informing us ?convincing? theories. ...read more.

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