The Integration of Knowledge explores a theory of human knowledge through a model of rationality combined with some fundamental logical, mathematical, physical and neuroscientific considerations. Its ultimate goal is to present a philosophical system of integrated knowledge, in which the different domains of human understanding are unified by common conceptual structures, such that traditional metaphysical and epistemological questions may be addressed in light of these categories. Philosophy thus becomes a "synthesizer" of human knowledge, through the imaginative construction of categories and questions that may reproduce and even expand the conceptual chain followed by nature and thought, in an effort to organize the results of the different branches of knowledge by inserting them in a broader framework.
8. The Foundations of the Social Sciences
8 The Foundations of the Social Sciences
8.1 Difficulties of the Scientific Method in the Social Domain
The previous pages have addressed fundamental epistemological questions focused on the scope of the natural sciences and their implications for a theory of knowledge.
Physics, chemistry, biology and neuroscience, together with logic and mathematics as structural foundations of their rational inquiry, represent our most powerful tools for achieving knowledge endowed with the highest degree of certitude. Nevertheless, the human mind, in its far-reaching aspiration to conquer new territories of knowledge, cannot renounce exploring the realm of the most complex objects available to our experience: the productions of the mind in the form of cultural and social institutions.1
It is therefore imperative to deal with the nature and scope of the social sciences. Indeed, many of these disciplines have been able to produce particular instantiations of knowledge, but it is difficult to agree on which general propositions, capable of encompassing more than one phenomenon, have been actually unveiled. It is not easy to discern which propositions in psychology and ←419 | 420→sociology have been firmly incorporated in the body of human knowledge, other than mere descriptions or untested opinions.
Any attempt to approach an object, whether in the domain of the natural sciences or of the social and humanistic disciplines, always encounters a deep difficulty: the methodological perspective employed. In the case of the natural sciences, the problem, although real, is exhibited on a...
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