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📙 Social Sciences as Sorcery by Stanislav Andreski — pdf free


To judge by quantity, the social sciences are going through a period of unprecedented progress: with congresses and conferences mushrooming, printed matter piling up, and the number of professionals increasing at such a rate that, unless arrested, it would overtake the population of the globe within a few hundred years. Most of the practitioners wax enthusiastic about this proliferation, and add to the flood by writing exultant surveys of their crafts 'to-day', readily affixing the label of 'revolution' to all kinds of most insignificant steps forward . . . or even backwards; and sometimes even claiming to have crossed the threshold separating their fields from the exact sciences. What is particularly dismaying is that not only does the flood of publications reveal an abundance of pompous bluff and a paucity of new ideas, but even the old and valuable insights which we have inherited from our illustrious ancestors are being drowned in a torrent of meaningless verbiage and useless technicalities. Pretentious and nebulous verbosity, interminable repetition of platitudes and disguised propaganda are the order of the day, while at least 95% of research is indeed re-search for things that have been found long ago and many times since. In comparison with half a century ago, the average quality of the publications (apart from those which deal with techniques rather than the substance) has declined in a number of fields. Such a far-reaching verdict naturally calls for evidence, and much of the present book is devoted to supplying it. As the present book deals with the phenomena which must be judged as undesirable from the standpoint of intellectual progress, the references to the literature are as a rule derogatory. This does not mean that I believe that nothing of value has been produced; but one cannot write about everything at once, and this is a tract rather than a treatise. Numerous positive contributions to knowledge are cited in my previous publications, and many more will be mentioned in other books which are in preparation, particularly if I live long enough to write a general treatise. I argue on the pages which follow that much of what passes as scientific study of human behaviour boils down to an equivalent of sorcery, but fortunately there are other things as well.

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