Occasionally Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal captures an important insight, in this case, people's attitudes toward the social sciences. My attitude toward the social sciences is that they are quite capable of being scientific. They're not always, but then even the "hard" sciences have their lapses. On the one hand, what social scientists are studying exists … Continue reading SMBC: Social Science
YouTube channel Crash Course is starting a new series on what is perhaps the most social of social sciences: Sociology. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnCJU6PaCio The social sciences, such as sociology, but also psychology, economics, anthropology, and other similar fields get a lot of grief from people about not being "real" science. This criticism is typically justified by noting … Continue reading Are the social sciences “real” science?
Maria Konnikova has an article in the New Yorker on whether there is bias in social psychology against conservatives. One of the people calling attention to the issue is Jonathan Haidt, whose work my long time readers will know I'm generally a fan of. The core issue that Haidt is calling attention to is the … Continue reading Are social psychologists biased against conservatives? A simple check for ideological bias.
As is quickly becoming usual, Tina at Diotima's Ladder asks excellent questions: Roosevelt and Obama: Did we avoid a Great Depression? | Diotima's Ladder. For the past week I’ve been rushing home every night to catch The Roosevelts: An Intimate History by Ken Burns. I’m not really a big Ken Burns fan. And yes, it’s the fiddle music. … Continue reading The Great Recession was less severe than the Great Depression because we do learn from history.
Science can't determine values, and this includes aesthetics, beauty. But that doesn't mean science has nothing to say about beauty. As this article at PolicyMic indicates, it can study what most of us see as beauty and explore the reasons why we see it as beautiful. The primary reason we are alive is to reproduce … Continue reading Beauty is determined by both biology and culture
Last week, I made a post on the fact that we have desires, urges, impulses, motivations, that are inherently not rooted in reason or logic, that while reason and logic are extremely useful, they are tools of these desires, these instincts. And that while reason can have an effect on how we resolve conflicts between … Continue reading The foundations of morality
What is morality? Look it up on Wikipedia or most dictionaries, and you'll get something about whether acts or intentions are right or wrong. But what is right and wrong? Right and wrong for what? The usual answer is right and wrong for values. But what are values? Look that up, and after glossing over … Continue reading Morality arises from instincts