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An essay on isomorphic and idiosyncratic characteristics of social and natural science

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Kim, RanDo

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Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University
Korean Journal of Policy Studies, Vol.11, pp. 73-87
The schools of natural science, especially since Newton, have continuously influenced
the social science in two ways. As seen in the example of the systems theory or social
Darwinism, many social scientists have got insights from the ideas of natural science.
It is quite natural that a scientist discovers a new way of thinking or an implication
from a different academic discipline; however, the mainstream social scientists have
trapped themselves by confining their science with the methodology obtained from
natural science in order to validate it. This paper aims to reveal this methodological
trap of social science by showing the influence of natural science to social science in
the context of validation and by contrasting the differences between social and natural
science issue by issue. The issues raised in this paper include the possibility of the
monology and the normal science in social science, the debate over fact-value
dichotomy and obtaining objectivity in social science, and the role of science and
methodological reductionist issue. Considering such idiosyncrasies of social science, it is
claimed that social science should keep its methodological uniqueness and autonomy.
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