The Comparative Study of the Structure of Theories in the Natural and in the Social Sciences: Old Conundrums and New Challenges
Social Sciences
Volume 4, Issue 3, June 2015, Pages: 31-36
Received: Apr. 3, 2015; Accepted: Apr. 12, 2015; Published: Apr. 23, 2015
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Authors
Lubomir Savov Popov, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, U.S.A.
Ivan Mihailov Chompalov, Department of Sociology, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA, U.S.A.
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Abstract
The paper proposes methodological bases for comparison of the structure of theories in the Natural, Life, Social, and Human Sciences. The idea is that in order to study this problem, the ontological and epistemological peculiarities of these four major classes of disciplines should be considered. The analysis of the nature of the object and the concept of science is a prerequisite for stating the problem of comparison correctly. The nature of the object and the concept of science in the Natural Sciences are fostering Rationalistic world view and a Mertonian approach to the structure of theory, while in the Human Sciences there are grounds for developing an interpretative orientation, and a metaphoric use of the term. Social scientists appear to be deeply divided about which way to go. This methodological "tragedy" is due to the dual nature of the objects of their science. While large-scale social phenomena, such as social institutions or social classes, may behave similarly to the “natural objects” and therefore lend themselves to a more rationalistic theoretical treatment, small-scale phenomena (small groups, neighborhood communities, individuals) require a different kind of approach to gain adequate understanding, namely the detailed analysis and interpretation of meaning construction and modification.
Keywords
Theory, Natural and Social Sciences, Epistemology, Social Science Methodology
To cite this article
Lubomir Savov Popov, Ivan Mihailov Chompalov, The Comparative Study of the Structure of Theories in the Natural and in the Social Sciences: Old Conundrums and New Challenges, Social Sciences. Vol. 4, No. 3, 2015, pp. 31-36. doi: 10.11648/j.ss.20150403.11
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