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Interactions : Some Contacts between the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences - I. Bernard Cohen

Interactions

Some Contacts between the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences

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One of the fruits of the Scientific Revolution was the idea of a social science that would operate in ways comparable to the newly triumphant natural sciences. Thus was set in motion a long and often convoluted chain of two-way interactions that still have implications for both scholarship and public policy. This book, by the dean of American historians of science, offers an excellent historical perspective on these interactions.

One of the fruits of the Scientific Revolution was the idea of a social science-a science of government, of individual behavior, and of society-that would operate in ways comparable to the newly triumphant natural sciences. Thus was set in motion a long and often convoluted chain of two-way interactions that still have implications for both scholarship and public policy. This book, by the dean of American historians of science, offers an excellent historical perspective on these interactions.

The core of the book consists of two long essays. The first focuses on the role of analogies as linking factors between the two realms. Examples are drawn from the physics of rational mechanics and energy physics (in relation to marginalist or neoclassical economics) and from the biology of the cell theory (in relation to nineteenth-century sociology). The second essay looks closely at the relations between the natural and the social sciences in the period of the Scientific Revolution.

The book also includes a record of a series of conversations between the author and Harvey Brooks (Professor of Technology and Public Policy Emeritus at Harvard) that addresses the present-day public policy implications of the historical interactions between the natural and the social sciences. A short but illuminating history of the terms "natural science" and "social science" concludes the book.

Preface
Acknowledgments
An Analysis of Interactions between the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciencesp. 1
Types of Interactionp. 11
Analogy and Homologyp. 15
Metaphorp. 28
Roles of Analogyp. 35
Rational Mechanics and Marginalist Economicsp. 38
Biological Theory and Social Theoryp. 48
Incorrect Science, Imperfect Replication, and the Transformation of Scientific Ideasp. 61
Inappropriate or Useless Analogiesp. 66
The Scientific Revolution and the Social Sciencesp. 101
The "New Science" and the Sciences of Societyp. 101
The Seventeenth-Century Goal of a Social Science in Mathematical Form (Grotius, Spinoza, Vauban)p. 108
Political Arithmetic and Political Anatomy (Graunt and Petty)p. 114
An Independent "Civil" Science based on Motion (Hobbes)p. 118
The Notion of a Balance: A Social Science based on the New Physiology (Harrington)p. 124
A Conversation with Harvey Brooks on the Social Sciences, the Natural Sciences, and Public Policyp. 153
A Note on "Social Science" and on "Natural Science"p. 189
Indexp. 201
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262531245
ISBN-10: 0262531240
Series: Interactions
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 226
Published: 29th November 1994
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.35