People Ain’t Molecules

  • Mike Metcalfe


This chapter continues the argument that research on people, by people, can use a much wider range of methods than those available for physical science research. Indeed, people research has more methods available to it. However, people research also has a lot more problems. For example, what were traditionally (pre quantum theory) insignificant observational problems become significant when people study people. Furthermore, people’s attributes are much more complex than those of physical objects such as molecules; not least of which is that molecules cannot talk. Thus, the history of the philosophy of science is not full of debate about how to talk to embarrassed people, rather it is full of such things as how best to design accurate measuring instruments. Popper recognised this when he emphasised that his falsification ideas only applied to the physical sciences not sodal studies [1968]. Lakatos agreed [1978].


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

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  • Mike Metcalfe

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