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2.18 AOK: Human Sciences

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James Conner

on 12 April 2018

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Transcript of 2.18 AOK: Human Sciences

Scope and Application
Concepts and Languages

Historical Development

Links to Personal Knowledge
Natural Sciences
Human Sciences
laws & generalizations
What separates the Natural Sciences from the Human Sciences?
laws & generalizations
investigation of...
investigation of...
"Clearly, the role of the human being as both investigator and object of investigation might go some way to understanding the difference between the human sciences and the natural sciences."
Discuss: What role do the WoK play in the development of knowledge in Human Sciences?
On what basis did you make your subject choices in the IB Diploma programme? Did you choose maths and the natural sciences over the arts and human sciences, or vice versa? Did you perceive these AOKs as being fundamentally different? If so, in what way?
Why do you think it is that we are fairly good at understanding and curing physical illness but are still rather poor at understanding and curing mental illness?
Human science(s) is the study and interpretation of the experiences, activities, constructs, and artifacts associated with human beings.
facts about human relationships and about human culture
social FACTS
brute FACTS
social facts are those that are established by the group through formal agreement, informal practice, or even historical accident.
a person becomes guilty when a suitably appointed person such as a judge says ‘you are guilty’ within the context of the institution of the criminal court.

A piece of paper becomes money when a particular person (usually the head of the central bank) authorizes it.

A goal is scored when the referee signals (using language) that it is so.

Two people are married when the appropriate authority makes a suitable pronouncement in the appropriate circumstances,
Concepts of Physics are used as metaphors for understanding ideas in Human Sciences
Freud speaks of forces, psychic energy and drives, balance and equilibrium
The economy grows and contracts, balance and equilibrium, momentum and overheating, shake-outs, slack, and upward and downward movement.
• Society – An organization or a structure of people within defined boundaries.

• Culture – A group’s shared values, beliefs, language, norms, styles, and conventions.
quantitative measurements
qualitative observations.
Reason and Cause
Human intention
an important distinction to be made between things that happen because we make them happen – which we might call action, and things that happen because of external causes – which we might call movement. The first has a reason (a human intention), the second has a cause.
The earthquake that killed 650 000 people in Tangshan, China in 1976 – there was no reason. The tsunami of 2004 – there was no reason. Causes, yes; reasons, no. The attack on the World Trade Center in the US on 9/11 had reasons and, according to some people, causes. The collapse of the twin towers had causes.

Use of language in polls, questionnaires, and surveys
made to happen
What caused it?
what were the reasons for it?
experimentation in the human sciences
How would we define Experiment?
experiment sets up a sort of ideal replica in a controlled environment of a situation in the complex real world in which we are interested.
• It must be possible to create an ideal replica of the real-life situation preserving the features that we are interested in.

• It must be possible to control the various variables in the experiment.

• It must be possible to interpret the results of the experiment back into the real world.

• Since we are dealing with human beings, the experiment must be ethically permissible.
Criteria for Experimentation
Behaviorism vs humanism
stresses the importance of measurable or observable variables
human experience, thoughts, hopes, and desires are as much part of any explanation of human activity as behavior.
questionnaires & surveys
positivity bias - people rate themselves relative to current mood, stimuli, and other emotional states

The observer as part of the system
The observer imbeds themselves into the system
accessing small pockets of shared knowledge
difficulties in proving accuracy of knowledge

Approaches to Observation and Experimentation
need for simplicity and accuracy
Human reason is not measurable, therefor not worth considering.
Computer Simulations
"They reflect the intuition that although we are all free, within certain limits, to act as we wish, our behaviour generally follows certain statistical patterns. Many contemporary economic models are statistical."
To what extent can models simulate human behavior?
What are the ethical issues of using statistical models for making decisions to do with parole or the profiling of potential offenders?

Methodology Cont.
ASSUMPTIONS in the Human Sciences
Traits and Capacities we all* have in common.
Machiavelli (1469)- lazy and corrupt

Hobbes (1588)- fearful, need for society, stability

Locke (1632)- Tabula rasa- blank slate- shaped by experience

Rousseau (1712)- solitary peaceful, the 'noble savage'

Pinker (1954)- human nature is built in- it is what allows us to survive
Classical Model
Option A Option B
based on some criterion best option is chosen
Social Intuitionist Model
Option A Option B
intuition,imagination, emotion, reason
'feels right'
and then we develop our reasons
Which of these options would you prefer?

• Option A: Receive 200 dollars cash

• Option B: Play a game where you have 1/5 probability of receiving 1200 dollars
Risk-Averse Heuristic
We tend to be risk-averse in situations where we are presented with a gain.
Which of these would you prefer?

• Option A: Pay 200 dollars cash fine

• Option B: 1/5 probability of paying 1200 dollars
Risk-Embracing Heuristic
We are risk-embracing when it comes to limiting losses.
"Classical economics, classical political theory, and classical ethics assume primarily that system 2 is in charge – they assume the classical model of judgement. But the work mentioned above shows that this is not what human beings are actually like. We do have a nature that is embedded in our system 1 thinking and it has a big impact on our behaviour."
"Part of who you are and what you think (if these are different) come down to your responsibility to make up your own mind about the ideas that will furnish your mind. Innovation is often exciting and open-mindedness is to be commended, but a healthy skepticism is also a fine feature of the TOK student."...equally true at some point that our personal knowledge is ours alone to accept, refine,or reject as we meet new ideas and new experiences.""
Einstein, ‘If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.’


AOK: Human Sciences


Objective: develop an awareness of how individuals and communities construct knowledge and how this is critically examined
the analogy of a how the physical structure of a room limits our actions (we can only go in and through the door or windows for example; in the same way the social facts which make up our social environment constrains us – norms, values, beliefs, ideologies and so on effectively limit our choices.
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