RE: Real Science (was Re: serious)

From: Dr. Blake Nelson <>
Date: Thu Jan 08 2004 - 23:20:24 EST

Although I am loathe to continue this line of
discussion much farther, a lot of economic data is
recorded by purely mechanical devices and one does not
need any concepts or thought to count up how much
money is borrowed, how much consumers spend for X, Y,
or Z, etc.

So even accepting the distinction, it breaks down on
lots of economic data. It also breaks down in many
areas of experimental psychology where purely physical
devices records all sorts of physical responses. It
breaks down in political science in many respects when
one looks at voting behavior, or political economy,
where one does not always analyze survey data about
voting. In addition, anywhere behavioralism has
touched social sciences (which is almost everywhere),
e.g., political science, psychology, sociology, etc.
there are purely mechanical devices recording purely
physical things, however you want to define it every
bit as much as in physics. But, I won't belabor the
point further. Perhaps, the misunderstanding stems
from not really knowing what a large swath of social
scientists actually do?

--- "Alexanian, Moorad" <> wrote:
> Not quite! It is true that all sorts of verbal
> questions can be so asked but one must dwell on the
> concepts and notions used in the questions. For
> instance, if one asks “Does Jane love Tarzan?”
> and the answer is “Yes,” the problem is that
> Jane, Tarzan, and love cannot be characterized by
> purely physical devices. Physics questions are all
> characterized by terms that a purely physical in
> nature and thus amenable to measurements by purely
> physical devices.
> Moorad
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Glenn Morton []
> Sent: Thu 1/8/2004 8:58 PM
> To: Alexanian, Moorad; John W Burgeson
> Cc:
> Subject: RE: Real Science (was Re: serious)
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:
> []On
> > Behalf Of Alexanian, Moorad
> > Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 3:50 PM
> > To: John W Burgeson
> > Cc:
> > Subject: RE: Real Science (was Re: serious)
> >
> >
> > If the data that makes up the subject matter in
> the social
> > sciences could, in principle, be all collected by
> purely physical
> > devices, then social science can be totally
> reduced to physics. I
> > do not believe the latter. Social sciences must
> include aspects
> > of reality that are non-physical. Ergo my
> comment. I do not know
> > about Peter Berger---just looked him up in
> google. My comment is
> > so obvious that I do not know how to convince
> you.
> >
> If one developed a computer program to ask verbal
> questions and thus perform a survey and then do
> voice print analysis to understand what the response
> was, social science data can be collected via
> machine, which is a purely physical device. Does
> that make it reducible to physics? I wouldn't think
> so. But the technology to do what I say above is
> here and now.

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Received on Thu Jan 8 23:20:46 2004

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