In this essay I intend to dispute the notion that the term social science is a misnomer. Firstly, I will define social science, and then focus on the differences between rationalism and empiricism without whose existence there would be no epistemology. Empiricism will receive more attention due to the fact that that it has become the dominant epistemic approach, systematically and rigorously expressed through its offspring, ie ,materialism, sensism, positivism and naturalism. Second, I intend to allow ontological realities to manifest themselves through Kant's articulation as both an empiricist and a rationalist. This will dispel uninteresting dichotomies and allow one to "stand back", as it were, from one's own analysis of the topic.
EPISTEMIC APPROACHES WITHIN THE NATURAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES:Rationalism and Empiricism.
According to Marshall social science is "a general label applied to the study of society and human relationships…The designation of an area of study as a social science usually carries the implication that it is comparable in many ways to a natural science" (1994 :493). The implication here is that natural and social reality can be studied in the same way because both realities consist of relationships between facts, eg, cause and effect.
Note should be taken of the fact that rationalists and empiricists, despite their different approaches in their quest for knowledge, have both contributed immensely to the "birth" of different academic disciplines to which even modern day intellectuals subscribe. More interesting is that each of the two epistemic approaches claims their method of enquiry gives birth to valid information or certainty. According to Hamlyn rationalism ,whose founder is Descartes' is an epistemological doctrine that... [continues]
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