Natural Sciences v Human Sciences

What is the difference between natural sciences and human sciences?  First of all, what are the definitions for these two areas of knowledge?

Natural science focuses on the study of the nature and involves experiments and theories.  Chemistry, physics, biology are examples of some of the study areas of natural science.  They are very logic, and are usually supported with evidence and reason.  Experiments can be done in either at small or large scale.  They could be simple lab experiments at school to a chemical synthesis in an industry.

On the other hand, human science is more about the behavior, and is more abstract.  Psychology, economics, and anthropology are some examples.  Compared with natural sciences, this involves more thought and emotion.  Unlike natural science, there is no correct answer, so it is difficult to do an experiment.  However, conclusions can be drawn out from testing a large number of people and looking at what the majority has shown.

To decide which is better we must first decide on the criteria with which to judge them. As they both claim to be sciences so perhaps the best way to judge is to see which most expands our collective or shared knowledge. From this perspective it becomes clear of the natural sciences superiority, not only are the subjects studied broader thus giving a much wider array of new knowledge but are also much more reliable as a source for this new knowledge. This all comes back to the fact of repeatability which is much more prevalent in the natural sciences which thus allows a scientific consensus or paradigm to be reached. While it may be argued that this new paradigm isn’t the truth itself it’s undeniable that at the very least that the truth is closer than it was before. The same can’t be said for the human sciences and that is why the natural sciences is superior.

One thought on “Natural Sciences v Human Sciences

  1. Your TOK thinking is really developing and going deeper in its analysis, Lucas. What you say here is fair. I particularly like the way you question the criteria on which we can judge the two AOKs and link this to shared knowledge. Whilst what you say about the problem of experimentation, and particularly repeatability, in the Human Sciences is true, it seems to be the case that there is a problem in the Natural Sciences as well:
    I really like your last point about the way that successive scientific paradigms may not be the ‘truth’ themselves but take us closer to it- or to use a phrase from a former Biology teacher here ‘asymptotes towards the truth’.


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