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enewbury's picture

other means of common ground

I agree with what atisman. Both authors used philosophy and science in their arguments, but whereas Kosso seemed to be trying to demonstrate not only their differences but also their common grounds, Lukacs seemed to be leaning more favorably towards a philosophical stance. One of their common motifs is that there is no certainty in science. There is no definite truth. The human factor, in many ways, is the limiting factor from a higher understanding.

Although only a brief interlude in this passage, one of the best parts of the Kosso reading was the part pertaining to the 'effects of the observer' on page 22. The analogy with the thermometer is particularly critical, because people would often just take a temperature and not realize the impact that even the equipment they are using has on a particular situation. It is like society and science. Although scientists themselves understand the limitations of their experiments, the error in their equipment and their methodologies, society seems to often forget that scientists are involved in the experiment. Hard sciences are held up to this standard where their experiments are nearly robotic, the human factor is removed. This is why they tend to be "favored" by society, that their results tend to be taken as Fact. On the other hand, social sciences like anthropology or psychology, are held under a harder critic. The presence of the anthropologist or the psychologist is too evident, the human factor is too tangible and thus the possible flaws in the experiment too real. Then again, maybe it is because there isn't the presence of a neutral thermometer between two humans, the researcher and the subject being studied, or simply because we study humans instead of atoms, nevertheless the "soft" sciences seem to be farther from Fact than the "hard" sciences.

But perhaps this is just the inferiority complex I have as an anthropology student.


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