Thursday, January 13, 2011

Soft sciences or soft heads?

In “Hard Questions From 'Soft' Sciences”, Christopher F. Chabris valiantly defends “social sciences” from a century of materialist disgrace and ends up saying something quite sensible:
Finally, the social sciences have upgraded their public-relations efforts. Page-turners like "The Tipping Point" (by Malcolm Gladwell), "The Blank Slate" (by Steven Pinker), and "Freakonomics" (by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner) have stormed the best-seller lists. Glossy magazines write about "hot young economists." It's cool to do social science and to read about it.

Yet if social science is riding high, what is it riding toward?
More of that stuff, I fear. Well, Chabris, “psychology professor at Union College and the co-author of The Invisible Gorilla, and Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us, to be published next month by Crown” suggests,
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