All science is social science, because the development of knowledge of the laws of nature take place within society, are subject to the limitations of resources produced by society, and in turn have an effect on society. As capitalism was clawing it’s bloody way toward world dominance, it brought with it a remarkable boom in the sciences, because understanding natural processes results in improved technique for changing nature, which, in turn, results in greater profit. The funding of Universities, the establishment of public education, the general high regard for scientists, were all hallmarks of capitalism in its rise.
But the more scientific thought comes into conflict with private profit, the more scientific thought comes under attack. Public education is being gutted and teachers are treated with contempt. Climate change is denied. Virology and epidemiology are treated as enemies by the ruling elite. University research budgets, especially in the hard sciences, shrink. Pseudo-science replaces the search for objective truth, while many scientists, in self-defense, seek to draw in the borders of what science even is, thus fostering the notion that a scientific approach cannot even exist when it comes to history, economics, or politics.
All science is social science, and the abandonment of and disdain for scientific thought is symptomatic of a decaying social system even as it contributes to that decay.
4 thoughts on “All Science is Social Science”
Another thing I’ve noticed is this idea that science somehow has to stand apart and “remain neutral”. I’m not a scientist myself, but as an engineer I’ve noticed the same notion in my field, that we just make things and can’t be held responsible for how they’re used and that if we don’t do it, someone else will anyway.
I think it’s probably part of the same thing you describe.
I’ve always liked the statement in Wilson and Shea’s Illuminatus Trilogy that all science is neuroscience, because it’s all perceived through the brain. So all astronomy is neuroastronomy, all physics is neurphysics, all neurology is neuroneurology, ad nauseum.
It’s always fun to subvert idioms…
Could you explain what you mean when you say public education is being gutted? Per pupil spending has been steadily increasing every decade even accounting for inflation, and I believe it’s difficult to find a large population center that spends under five figures per student. Are you referring to administrative bloat, graft, unnecessary facilities… ineffective unions?
I’ve a response in mind outlining how education, climatology, and virology haven’t exactly been doing themselves any favors, but I’d like your view on the above at least before I completely defile myself.