Hi Angela,

I think we mostly agree, except for a few niggles/unclarities. So here goes, briefly
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Quote Originally Posted by Angela Kennedy View Post
Hi Maarten and Gerwyn,

The problem with psychology claiming itself as a science rather than a social science is that it deals in social constructs, like sociology. Much psychological "methods lack predictive power and sustained puzzle solving power which are the characteristic hallmarks of a science", for example, when it comes to human response. We see examples of this problem in the very claims that somatic illness is 'psychosomatic' or that, for example, ME sufferers 'catastrophize' or that women are 'hysterical' , or child trauma causes CFS, or even that CBT is 'successful'.

I agree mostly, if you agree "psychology" is an umbrella term (i.e. covers various kinds or subkinds). Also, logically speaking it is psychologists who make claims about psychology and other things. And "psychology" in general and without specification does not deal "in social constructs" necessarily.

For example, I guess Gerwyn will assure you that he is interested in neural networks, theories of representation, and the like, and so am I. In fact, I started pyschology because (i) I'd read William James's

Title: The Principles of Psychology
Link: http://www.maartensz.org/philosophy/...nciplesTOC.htm

and was still young, naive and trustful, and believed I'd get more of that quality when studying it and (ii) my main interest since I am 15 is - umbrella term! - human reasoning (whence also my other main interests: philosophy, logic and mathematics).

In brief: It much depends, and parts of psychology mostly avoid "social constructs" in any plausible useful sense (i.e. outside of the realm of postmodern epistemological abuse of terminology).

Nevertheless, sociology and psychology can make tentative predictions, and look for empirical evidence to support or refute these. While some branches choose not to do this, I'm somewhat of a empiricist sociologist (we're about!) and whether or not other sociologists and psychologists understand this, logic and rationality remains crucial in social science (and science for that matter!).

Again, it depends. And there is nothing wrong with descriptive or analytical sociology (though it often makes little sense - but think of Orwell, Aron, Goffman), while parts of psychology, especially when conjoined with neurosciences, are quite fit to make experimentally testable theories.

I fully agree with the last part, except that I do not have a clear idea of what you mean by "empiricist sociologist". (There is one meaning here, namely the one given by C. Wright Mills in "The Sociological Imagination", which is very well worth reading, that is apt for some sociologists, but that you may reject for yourself.)

But social science is not science, although a tentative scientific method can be employed.

Being logically minded I note a contradictio in adjecto or an irony, and literally speaking I disagree. One may - for example - criticize Aristotle or Machiavelli in quite a few cogent ways - and see

Title: Aristotle: Politics
Link: http://www.maartensz.org/philosophy/...oliticsTOC.htm

Title: Machiavelli: The Prince
Link: http://www.maartensz.org/philosophy/...y_remarks.html

such as: no statistics, biased, no references, not even peer reviewed, no mathematics, and more, but it sure is science as I understand the term - and indeed the same goes for Mosca and Weber.

My reason to maintain that this is science is that it aims at real knowledge, and is good analytical thinking informed by considerable relevant knowledge.

Besides, I'd say e.g. Machiavelli's theories, that incidentally were quite consciously new and revolutionary, seem to me to be very well confirmed in many ways over the course of the almost 500 years since they were written.

The problem is that certain areas claiming scientific authority are not either, and that includes much of psychology, I'm afraid. Sadly I've read a lot of psychological and psychotherapeutic literature (and this includes psychogenic explanation type literature) that does not follow scientific method properly (some of it seems more like astrology!), yet claims the aura of 'science'. This goes for medicine as well.

So maybe people sometimes play a little too hard and fast with the 'scientific method' claim which involves claims to scientific authority which themselves become logical falllacies. Sociology can be scientific. Some of it isn't. Same goes for psychology.

Quite so!

Plus I'm more of a Popperian than a Kuhnian - whose reasoning seems a little circular at times, and prescriptive rather than descriptive.

I am neither, and never was. For what I do think see my

Title: Ten good philosophy texts:
Link: http://www.maartensz.org/log/2009/NL091110a.htm

Especially items 9 and 10 are both hefty (many volumes) but very well worth reading, and incidentally give my sort of reasons (that I found for myself ca. 1971) not to be a Kuhnian or Popperian.

Sorry I don't have freely available online resource for the Weber reference.

Do I validly infer tenured social research scientists can enjoy it, in English? (I don't even really know whether more than a part of "Economics and Society" i.e. "Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft" ever got translated.)

Anyway... it really would be nice if some bright sociologist could get those definitions on line. It would be creative work as well, for one has to peel them from the surrounding text, and they are quite good.

Maarten.

P.S. I see quite a few posts came inbetween and saw - among other things - that Angela wrote

Anonymous peer review is rather ludicrous.

O no, not in logic and mathematics, and probably not in physics. There just are not enough peers, and anonymity, even if it is mock anonymity, gives the reviewer liberties he wouldn't have if named. And I have read many published papers in mathematics and logic in which the writer(s) thanked the anonymous reviewer for his help and corrections.