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Science walks on two legs, but social sciences try to hop on one

  • Author(s): Taagepera, R;
  • et al.
Abstract

Science walks on two legs. One leg consists of asking: How things are? This leads to observation, measurement, graphing, and statistical description. The other leg consists of asking: How things should be, on logical grounds? This leads to logical models that should become quantitatively predictive. Science largely consists of such models, tested with data. Developed science establishes not only connections among individual factors but also connections among these connections. As an illustration, I use laws about human activity I have found. But social sciences often take the lazy road of fitting raw data with a straight line or some fashionable format, unaware of the need to think and build models based on logic, as stressed by Karl Deutsch. As expounded in my Making Social Sciences More Scientific (2008) and Logical Models and Basic Numeracy in Social Sciences, www.psych.ut.ee/stk/Beginners_Logical_Models.pdf, I call for a major widening in social science methodology.

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