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Making Social Sciences More ScientificThe Need for Predictive Models$
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Rein Taagepera

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199534661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199534661.001.0001

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Why Most Numbers Published in Social Sciences Are Dead on Arrival

Why Most Numbers Published in Social Sciences Are Dead on Arrival

Chapter:
(p.82) 7 Why Most Numbers Published in Social Sciences Are Dead on Arrival
Source:
Making Social Sciences More Scientific
Author(s):

Rein Taagepera (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199534661.003.0007

The numbers published in physics are steppingstones for further inquiry, because they are few and other researchers often make use of them. The numbers published in social sciences are endpoints, because they are profligate and, once printed, hardly anyone makes use of them. Astronomy could not develop without overcoming the Ptolemaic syndrome of reducing all motion to circular. Social sciences must overcome their syndrome of reducing all relationships to linear. Physicists, like people in general, start with causal models, while social scientists stand apart by starting with empirical models.

Keywords:   causal models, empirical models, linear relationships, Ptolemaic syndrome, steppingstones versus endpoints

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