Superseded theories in science
In science, a theory is superseded or becomes obsolete when a scientific consensus once accepted it, but current science considers it an inadequate, incomplete, or false description of reality. Such labels do not cover protoscientific or fringe science theories that have never had broad support within the scientific community. Furthermore, superseded or obsolete theories exclude theories that were never accepted by the scientific community; some theories that were only supported under specific political authorities, such as Lysenkoism, may be described as obsolete or superseded. All of Newtonian physics is so satisfactory for most purposes that it is more used except at velocities that are a significant fraction of the speed of light, simpler Newtonian but not relativistic mechanics is taught in schools. Another case is the belief that the Earth is flat. For centuries, people have known that a flat Earth model produces errors in long-distance calculations, but considering local-scale areas as flat for the purposes of mapping and surveying does not introduce significant errors.
In some cases, a theory or idea is found baseless and is discarded. For example, the phlogiston theory was replaced by the quite different concept of energy and related laws. In other cases an existing theory is replaced by a new theory that retains significant elements of the earlier theory. An example of this is the use of Newtonian physics, which differs from the accepted relativistic physics by a factor, negligibly small at velocities much lower than that of light. Scientific theories make falsifiable predictions. Thus, it is a mark of good science if a discipline has a growing list of superseded theories, conversely, a lack of superseded theories can indicate problems in following the use of the scientific method. Spontaneous generation – a principle regarding the spontaneous generation of complex life from inanimate matter, which held that this process was a commonplace and everyday occurrence, as distinguished from univocal generation, or reproduction from parent. Falsified by an experiment by Louis Pasteur: where spontaneous generation of microorganisms occurred, it did not happen on repeating the process without access to unfiltered air.
Transmutation of species, inheritance of acquired characteristics – first theories of evolution. Not supported by experiment, rendered obsolete by Darwinian evolution and Mendelian genetics, though some elements of Lamarckian evolution are coming back in the area of epigenetics. Vitalism – the theory that living things are alive because of some "vital force" independent of matter, as opposed to because of some appropriate assembly of matter, it was discredited by the rise of organic chemistry and molecular biology, fields that failed to discover any "vital force". Friedrich Wöhler's synthesis of urea from ammonium cyanate was only one step in a long road, not a great refutation. Maternal impression – the theory that the mother's thoughts created birth defects. No experimental support, rendered obsolete by genetic theory Preformationism – the theory that all organisms have existed since the beginning of life, that gametes contain a miniature but complete preformed individual, in the case of humans, a homunculus.
No support when microscopy became available. Rendered obsolete by cytology, discovery of DNA, atomic theory. Recapitulation theory – the theory that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". See Baer's laws of embryology. Telegony – the theory that an offspring can inherit characteristics from a previous mate of its mother's as well as its actual parents associated with racism. Out of Asia theory of human origin – The majority view is of a recent African origin of modern humans, although a multiregional origin of modern humans hypothesis has much support Scientific racism - the theory that humanity consists of physically discrete superior or inferior races. Rendered obsolete by Human evolutionary genetics and modern anthropology. Mendelian genetics, classical genetics, Boveri–Sutton chromosome theory – first genetic theories. Not invalidated as such, but subsumed into molecular genetics. Germ line theory, explained immunoglobulin diversity by proposing that each antibody was encoded in a separate germline gene.
Caloric theory – the theory that a self-repelling fluid called "caloric" was the substance of heat. Rendered obsolete by the mechanical theory of heat. Classical elements – All matter was once thought composed of various combinations of classical elements. Antoine Lavoisier refuted this in his 1789 publication, Elements of Chemistry, which contained the first modern list of chemical elements. Phlogiston theory – The theory that combustible goods contain a substance called "phlogiston" that entered air during combustion. Replaced by Lavoisier's work on oxidation Point 2 of Dalton's Atomic Theory was rendered obsolete by discovery of isotopes, point 3 by discovery of subatomic particles and nuclear reactions. Vitalism – See section on biology. Emission theory of vision – the belief that vision is caused by rays emanating from the eyes was superseded by the intro-mission approach and more complex theories of vision Aristotelian physics – superseded by Newtonian physics Ptolemy's law of refraction, replaced by Snell's law Luminiferous aether – failed
Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion of matter that has a property of electric charge. In early days, electricity was considered as being not related to magnetism. On, many experimental results and the development of Maxwell's equations indicated that both electricity and magnetism are from a single phenomenon: electromagnetism. Various common phenomena are related to electricity, including lightning, static electricity, electric heating, electric discharges and many others; the presence of an electric charge, which can be either positive or negative, produces an electric field. The movement of electric charges produces a magnetic field; when a charge is placed in a location with a non-zero electric field, a force will act on it. The magnitude of this force is given by Coulomb's law. Thus, if that charge were to move, the electric field would be doing work on the electric charge, thus we can speak of electric potential at a certain point in space, equal to the work done by an external agent in carrying a unit of positive charge from an arbitrarily chosen reference point to that point without any acceleration and is measured in volts.
Electricity is at the heart of many modern technologies, being used for: electric power where electric current is used to energise equipment. Electrical phenomena have been studied since antiquity, though progress in theoretical understanding remained slow until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Practical applications for electricity were few, it would not be until the late nineteenth century that electrical engineers were able to put it to industrial and residential use; the rapid expansion in electrical technology at this time transformed industry and society, becoming a driving force for the Second Industrial Revolution. Electricity's extraordinary versatility means it can be put to an limitless set of applications which include transport, lighting and computation. Electrical power is now the backbone of modern industrial society. Long before any knowledge of electricity existed, people were aware of shocks from electric fish. Ancient Egyptian texts dating from 2750 BCE referred to these fish as the "Thunderer of the Nile", described them as the "protectors" of all other fish.
Electric fish were again reported millennia by ancient Greek and Arabic naturalists and physicians. Several ancient writers, such as Pliny the Elder and Scribonius Largus, attested to the numbing effect of electric shocks delivered by catfish and electric rays, knew that such shocks could travel along conducting objects. Patients suffering from ailments such as gout or headache were directed to touch electric fish in the hope that the powerful jolt might cure them; the earliest and nearest approach to the discovery of the identity of lightning, electricity from any other source, is to be attributed to the Arabs, who before the 15th century had the Arabic word for lightning ra‘ad applied to the electric ray. Ancient cultures around the Mediterranean knew that certain objects, such as rods of amber, could be rubbed with cat's fur to attract light objects like feathers. Thales of Miletus made a series of observations on static electricity around 600 BCE, from which he believed that friction rendered amber magnetic, in contrast to minerals such as magnetite, which needed no rubbing.
Thales was incorrect in believing the attraction was due to a magnetic effect, but science would prove a link between magnetism and electricity. According to a controversial theory, the Parthians may have had knowledge of electroplating, based on the 1936 discovery of the Baghdad Battery, which resembles a galvanic cell, though it is uncertain whether the artifact was electrical in nature. Electricity would remain little more than an intellectual curiosity for millennia until 1600, when the English scientist William Gilbert wrote De Magnete, in which he made a careful study of electricity and magnetism, distinguishing the lodestone effect from static electricity produced by rubbing amber, he coined the New Latin word electricus to refer to the property of attracting small objects after being rubbed. This association gave rise to the English words "electric" and "electricity", which made their first appearance in print in Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica of 1646. Further work was conducted in the 17th and early 18th centuries by Otto von Guericke, Robert Boyle, Stephen Gray and C. F. du Fay.
In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin conducted extensive research in electricity, selling his possessions to fund his work. In June 1752 he is reputed to have attached a metal key to the bottom of a dampened kite string and flown the kite in a storm-threatened sky. A succession of sparks jumping from the key to the back of his hand showed that lightning was indeed electrical in nature, he explained the paradoxical behavior of the Leyden jar as a device for storing large amounts of electrical charge in terms of electricity consisting of both positive and negative charges. In 1791, Luigi Galvani published his discovery of bioelectromagnetics, demonstrating that electricity was the medium by which neurons passed signals to the muscles. Alessandro Volta's battery, or voltaic pile, of 1800, made from alternating layers of zinc and copper, provided scientists with a more reliable source of electrical energy than the electrostatic machines used; the recognition of electromagnetism, the unity of electric
Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion, behavior through space and time, that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves. Physics is one of the oldest academic disciplines and, through its inclusion of astronomy the oldest. Over much of the past two millennia, chemistry and certain branches of mathematics, were a part of natural philosophy, but during the scientific revolution in the 17th century these natural sciences emerged as unique research endeavors in their own right. Physics intersects with many interdisciplinary areas of research, such as biophysics and quantum chemistry, the boundaries of physics which are not rigidly defined. New ideas in physics explain the fundamental mechanisms studied by other sciences and suggest new avenues of research in academic disciplines such as mathematics and philosophy. Advances in physics enable advances in new technologies.
For example, advances in the understanding of electromagnetism and nuclear physics led directly to the development of new products that have transformed modern-day society, such as television, domestic appliances, nuclear weapons. Astronomy is one of the oldest natural sciences. Early civilizations dating back to beyond 3000 BCE, such as the Sumerians, ancient Egyptians, the Indus Valley Civilization, had a predictive knowledge and a basic understanding of the motions of the Sun and stars; the stars and planets were worshipped, believed to represent gods. While the explanations for the observed positions of the stars were unscientific and lacking in evidence, these early observations laid the foundation for astronomy, as the stars were found to traverse great circles across the sky, which however did not explain the positions of the planets. According to Asger Aaboe, the origins of Western astronomy can be found in Mesopotamia, all Western efforts in the exact sciences are descended from late Babylonian astronomy.
Egyptian astronomers left monuments showing knowledge of the constellations and the motions of the celestial bodies, while Greek poet Homer wrote of various celestial objects in his Iliad and Odyssey. Natural philosophy has its origins in Greece during the Archaic period, when pre-Socratic philosophers like Thales rejected non-naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena and proclaimed that every event had a natural cause, they proposed ideas verified by reason and observation, many of their hypotheses proved successful in experiment. The Western Roman Empire fell in the fifth century, this resulted in a decline in intellectual pursuits in the western part of Europe. By contrast, the Eastern Roman Empire resisted the attacks from the barbarians, continued to advance various fields of learning, including physics. In the sixth century Isidore of Miletus created an important compilation of Archimedes' works that are copied in the Archimedes Palimpsest. In sixth century Europe John Philoponus, a Byzantine scholar, questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics and noting its flaws.
He introduced the theory of impetus. Aristotle's physics was not scrutinized until John Philoponus appeared, unlike Aristotle who based his physics on verbal argument, Philoponus relied on observation. On Aristotle's physics John Philoponus wrote: “But this is erroneous, our view may be corroborated by actual observation more than by any sort of verbal argument. For if you let fall from the same height two weights of which one is many times as heavy as the other, you will see that the ratio of the times required for the motion does not depend on the ratio of the weights, but that the difference in time is a small one, and so, if the difference in the weights is not considerable, that is, of one is, let us say, double the other, there will be no difference, or else an imperceptible difference, in time, though the difference in weight is by no means negligible, with one body weighing twice as much as the other”John Philoponus' criticism of Aristotelian principles of physics served as an inspiration for Galileo Galilei ten centuries during the Scientific Revolution.
Galileo cited Philoponus in his works when arguing that Aristotelian physics was flawed. In the 1300s Jean Buridan, a teacher in the faculty of arts at the University of Paris, developed the concept of impetus, it was a step toward the modern ideas of momentum. Islamic scholarship inherited Aristotelian physics from the Greeks and during the Islamic Golden Age developed it further placing emphasis on observation and a priori reasoning, developing early forms of the scientific method; the most notable innovations were in the field of optics and vision, which came from the works of many scientists like Ibn Sahl, Al-Kindi, Ibn al-Haytham, Al-Farisi and Avicenna. The most notable work was The Book of Optics, written by Ibn al-Haytham, in which he conclusively disproved the ancient Greek idea about vision, but came up with a new theory. In the book, he presented a study of the phenomenon of the camera obscura (his thousand-year-old
The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation, it involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises. Though diverse models for the scientific method are available, there is in general a continuous process that includes observations about the natural world. People are inquisitive, so they come up with questions about things they see or hear, they develop ideas or hypotheses about why things are the way they are; the best hypotheses lead to predictions. The most conclusive testing of hypotheses comes from reasoning based on controlled experimental data. Depending on how well additional tests match the predictions, the original hypothesis may require refinement, expansion or rejection.
If a particular hypothesis becomes well supported, a general theory may be developed. Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, they are the same from one to another; the process of the scientific method involves making conjectures, deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, carrying out experiments or empirical observations based on those predictions. A hypothesis is a conjecture, based on knowledge obtained while seeking answers to the question; the hypothesis might be specific, or it might be broad. Scientists test hypotheses by conducting experiments or studies. A scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable, implying that it is possible to identify a possible outcome of an experiment or observation that conflicts with predictions deduced from the hypothesis; the purpose of an experiment is to determine whether observations agree with or conflict with the predictions derived from a hypothesis. Experiments can take place anywhere from a garage to CERN's Large Hadron Collider.
There are difficulties in a formulaic statement of method, however. Though the scientific method is presented as a fixed sequence of steps, it represents rather a set of general principles. Not all steps take place in every scientific inquiry, they are not always in the same order; some philosophers and scientists have argued. Robert Nola and Howard Sankey remark that "For some, the whole idea of a theory of scientific method is yester-year's debate, the continuation of which can be summed up as yet more of the proverbial deceased equine castigation. We beg to differ." Important debates in the history of science concern rationalism as advocated by René Descartes. The term "scientific method" emerged in the 19th century, when a significant institutional development of science was taking place and terminologies establishing clear boundaries between science and non-science, such as "scientist" and "pseudoscience", appeared. Throughout the 1830s and 1850s, by which time Baconianism was popular, naturalists like William Whewell, John Herschel, John Stuart Mill engaged in debates over "induction" and "facts" and were focused on how to generate knowledge.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a debate over realism vs. antirealism was conducted as powerful scientific theories extended beyond the realm of the observable. The term "scientific method" came into popular use in the twentieth century, popping up in dictionaries and science textbooks, although there was little scientific consensus over its meaning. Although there was a growth through the middle of the twentieth century, by the end of that century numerous influential philosophers of science like Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend had questioned the universality of the "scientific method" and in doing so replaced the notion of science as a homogeneous and universal method with that of it being a heterogeneous and local practice. In particular, Paul Feyerabend argued against there being any universal rules of science. Historian of science Daniel Thurs maintains that the scientific method is a myth or, at best, an idealization; the scientific method is the process. As in other areas of inquiry, science can build on previous knowledge and develop a more sophisticated understanding of its topics of study over time.
This model can be seen to underlie the scientific revolution. The ubiquitous element in the model of the scientific method is empiricism, or more epistemologic sensualism; this is in opposition to stringent forms of rationalism: the scientific method embodies that reason alone cannot solve a particular scientific problem. A strong formulation of the scientific method is not always aligned with a form of empiricism in which the empirical data is put forward in the form of experience or other abstracted forms of knowledge; the scientific method is of necessity als
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, values, reason and language. Such questions are posed as problems to be studied or resolved; the term was coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will? "philosophy" encompassed any body of knowledge. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy became classified as a book of physics. In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize.
In the modern era, some investigations that were traditionally part of philosophy became separate academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology and economics. Other investigations related to art, politics, or other pursuits remained part of philosophy. For example, is beauty objective or subjective? Are there many scientific methods or just one? Is political utopia a hopeful dream or hopeless fantasy? Major sub-fields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of science. Traditionally, the term "philosophy" referred to any body of knowledge. In this sense, philosophy is related to religion, natural science and politics. Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy is classified in the 2000s as a book of physics. In the first part of the first book of his Academics, Cicero introduced the division of philosophy into logic and ethics. Metaphysical philosophy was the study of existence, God, logic and other abstract objects; this division has changed.
Natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences astronomy, chemistry and cosmology. Moral philosophy still includes value theory. Metaphysical philosophy has birthed formal sciences such as logic and philosophy of science, but still includes epistemology and others. Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today. Colin McGinn and others claim. Chalmers and others, by contrast, see progress in philosophy similar to that in science, while Talbot Brewer argued that "progress" is the wrong standard by which to judge philosophical activity. In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdom, intellectual culture and a search for knowledge. In that sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality". A broad and impartial conception of philosophy finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality and life in all world civilizations. Western philosophy is the philosophical tradition of the Western world and dates to Pre-Socratic thinkers who were active in Ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE such as Thales and Pythagoras who practiced a "love of wisdom" and were termed physiologoi.
Socrates was a influential philosopher, who insisted that he possessed no wisdom but was a pursuer of wisdom. Western philosophy can be divided into three eras: Ancient, Medieval philosophy, Modern philosophy; the Ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools which arose out of the various pupils of Socrates, such as Plato, who founded the Platonic Academy and his student Aristotle, founding the Peripatetic school, who were both influential in Western tradition. Other traditions include Cynicism, Greek Skepticism and Epicureanism. Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics, the nature of the well-lived life, the possibility of knowledge and the nature of reason. With the rise of the Roman empire, Greek philosophy was increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca. Medieval philosophy is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the ris
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of science is a sub-field of philosophy concerned with the foundations and implications of science. The central questions of this study concern what qualifies as science, the reliability of scientific theories, the ultimate purpose of science; this discipline overlaps with metaphysics and epistemology, for example, when it explores the relationship between science and truth. There is no consensus among philosophers about many of the central problems concerned with the philosophy of science, including whether science can reveal the truth about unobservable things and whether scientific reasoning can be justified at all. In addition to these general questions about science as a whole, philosophers of science consider problems that apply to particular sciences; some philosophers of science use contemporary results in science to reach conclusions about philosophy itself. While philosophical thought pertaining to science dates back at least to the time of Aristotle, philosophy of science emerged as a distinct discipline only in the 20th century in the wake of the logical positivism movement, which aimed to formulate criteria for ensuring all philosophical statements' meaningfulness and objectively assessing them.
Thomas Kuhn's 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was formative, challenging the view of scientific progress as steady, cumulative acquisition of knowledge based on a fixed method of systematic experimentation and instead arguing that any progress is relative to a "paradigm," the set of questions and practices that define a scientific discipline in a particular historical period. Karl Popper and Charles Sanders Peirce moved on from positivism to establish a modern set of standards for scientific methodology. Subsequently, the coherentist approach to science, in which a theory is validated if it makes sense of observations as part of a coherent whole, became prominent due to W. V. Quine and others; some thinkers such as Stephen Jay Gould seek to ground science in axiomatic assumptions, such as the uniformity of nature. A vocal minority of philosophers, Paul Feyerabend in particular, argue that there is no such thing as the "scientific method", so all approaches to science should be allowed, including explicitly supernatural ones.
Another approach to thinking about science involves studying how knowledge is created from a sociological perspective, an approach represented by scholars like David Bloor and Barry Barnes. A tradition in continental philosophy approaches science from the perspective of a rigorous analysis of human experience. Philosophies of the particular sciences range from questions about the nature of time raised by Einstein's general relativity, to the implications of economics for public policy. A central theme is; that is, can chemistry be reduced to physics, or can sociology be reduced to individual psychology? The general questions of philosophy of science arise with greater specificity in some particular sciences. For instance, the question of the validity of scientific reasoning is seen in a different guise in the foundations of statistics; the question of what counts as science and what should be excluded arises as a life-or-death matter in the philosophy of medicine. Additionally, the philosophies of biology, of psychology, of the social sciences explore whether the scientific studies of human nature can achieve objectivity or are shaped by values and by social relations.
Distinguishing between science and non-science is referred to as the demarcation problem. For example, should psychoanalysis be considered science? How about so-called creation science, the inflationary multiverse hypothesis, or macroeconomics? Karl Popper called this the central question in the philosophy of science. However, no unified account of the problem has won acceptance among philosophers, some regard the problem as unsolvable or uninteresting. Martin Gardner has argued for the use of a Potter Stewart standard for recognizing pseudoscience. Early attempts by the logical positivists grounded science in observation while non-science was non-observational and hence meaningless. Popper argued; that is, every genuinely scientific claim is capable of being proven false, at least in principle. An area of study or speculation that masquerades as science in an attempt to claim a legitimacy that it would not otherwise be able to achieve is referred to as pseudoscience, fringe science, or junk science.
Physicist Richard Feynman coined the term "cargo cult science" for cases in which researchers believe they are doing science because their activities have the outward appearance of it but lack the "kind of utter honesty" that allows their results to be rigorously evaluated. A related question is what counts as a good scientific explanation. In addition to providing predictions about future events, society takes scientific theories to provide explanations for events that occur or have occurred. Philosophers have investigated the criteria by which a scientific theory can be said to have explained a phenomenon, as well as what it means to say a scientific theory has explanatory power. One early and influential theory of scientific explanation is the deductive-nomological model, it says that a successful scientific explanation must deduce the occurrence of the phenomena in question from a scientific law. This view has been subjected to substantial criticism, resulting in several acknowledged counterexamples to the theory.
It is challenging to characterize what is meant by an explanation when the thing to be explained cannot be deduc
Social science is a category of academic disciplines, concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. Social science as a whole has many branches; these social sciences include, but are not limited to: anthropology, communication studies, history, human geography, linguistics, political science, public health, sociology. The term is sometimes used to refer to the field of sociology, the original "science of society", established in the 19th century. For a more detailed list of sub-disciplines within the social sciences see: Outline of social science. Positivist social scientists use methods resembling those of the natural sciences as tools for understanding society, so define science in its stricter modern sense. Interpretivist social scientists, by contrast, may use social critique or symbolic interpretation rather than constructing empirically falsifiable theories, thus treat science in its broader sense. In modern academic practice, researchers are eclectic, using multiple methodologies.
The term "social research" has acquired a degree of autonomy as practitioners from various disciplines share in its aims and methods. The history of the social sciences begins in the Age of Enlightenment after 1650, which saw a revolution within natural philosophy, changing the basic framework by which individuals understood what was "scientific". Social sciences came forth from the moral philosophy of the time and were influenced by the Age of Revolutions, such as the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution; the social sciences developed from the sciences, or the systematic knowledge-bases or prescriptive practices, relating to the social improvement of a group of interacting entities. The beginnings of the social sciences in the 18th century are reflected in the grand encyclopedia of Diderot, with articles from Jean-Jacques Rousseau and other pioneers; the growth of the social sciences is reflected in other specialized encyclopedias. The modern period saw "social science" first used as a distinct conceptual field.
Social science was influenced by positivism, focusing on knowledge based on actual positive sense experience and avoiding the negative. Auguste Comte used the term "science sociale" to describe the field, taken from the ideas of Charles Fourier. Following this period, there were five paths of development that sprang forth in the social sciences, influenced by Comte on other fields. One route, taken was the rise of social research. Large statistical surveys were undertaken in various parts of the United States and Europe. Another route undertaken was initiated by Émile Durkheim, studying "social facts", Vilfredo Pareto, opening metatheoretical ideas and individual theories. A third means developed, arising from the methodological dichotomy present, in which social phenomena were identified with and understood; the fourth route taken, based in economics, was developed and furthered economic knowledge as a hard science. The last path was the correlation of knowledge and social values. In this route and prescription were non-overlapping formal discussions of a subject.
Around the start of the 20th century, Enlightenment philosophy was challenged in various quarters. After the use of classical theories since the end of the scientific revolution, various fields substituted mathematics studies for experimental studies and examining equations to build a theoretical structure; the development of social science subfields became quantitative in methodology. The interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary nature of scientific inquiry into human behaviour and environmental factors affecting it, made many of the natural sciences interested in some aspects of social science methodology. Examples of boundary blurring include emerging disciplines like social research of medicine, neuropsychology and the history and sociology of science. Quantitative research and qualitative methods are being integrated in the study of human action and its implications and consequences. In the first half of the 20th century, statistics became a free-standing discipline of applied mathematics.
Statistical methods were used confidently. In the contemporary period, Karl Popper and Talcott Parsons influenced the furtherance of the social sciences. Researchers continue to search for a unified consensus on what methodology might have the power and refinement to connect a proposed "grand theory" with the various midrange theories that, with considerable success, continue to provide usable frameworks for massive, growing data banks; the social sciences will for the foreseeable future be composed of different zones in the research of, sometime distinct in approach toward, the field. The term "social science" may refer either to the specific sciences of society established by thinkers such as Comte, Durkheim and Weber, or more to all disciplines outside of "noble science" and arts. By the late 19th century, the academic social sciences were constituted of five fields: jurisprudence and amendment of the law, health and trade, art. Around the start of the 21st century, the expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.
The social science disciplines are branches of knowledge taught and researched at the college or university level. Social science disciplines are defined and rec