The socialsciences comprise the application of scientific methods to the study of the human aspects of the world.
Socialsciences diverge from the humanities in that many in the socialsciences emphasize the scientific method or other rigorous standards of evidence in the study of humanity.
Statistics and probability theory were sufficiently developed to be considered "scientific", resulting in the widespread use of statistics in the socialsciences (they are also widely used in most other sciences as well, including biology).
Alongside these developments, Pragmatism facilitated the emergence of qualitative socialscience via the ethnographic and community-based endeavors of the Chicago School in the 1920's and 1930's.
The combination of these quantitative and qualitative advancements thus established socialscience as an empirical endeavor distinct from the humanities.
The basic methods of studying patterns of social relations that have been developed in the field of social network analysis provide ways of rigorously approaching many classic problems in the socialsciences.
The application of existing methods to a wider range of socialscience problems, and the development of new methods to address additional issues in the socialsciences are "cutting edges" in most socialscience disciplines.
Social network analysis is also increasingly connected to the broader field of network analysis.
Hopefully, the core ideas of social network analysis will enrich our understanding of fields outside the socialsciences.
We've not provided a rigorous grounding of social network analysis in graph theory.
This unity of science as descriptive remained, for example, in the time of Thomas Hobbes who argued that deductive reasoning from axioms created a scientific framework; his book, Leviathan, was a scientific description of a political commonwealth.
Within decades of Hobbes' work a revolution took place in what constituted science, particularly with the work of Isaac Newton in physics.
Such relationships, called Laws after the usage of the time (see philosophy of science) became the model that other disciplines would emulate.
In the early 20th century, a wave of change came to science that saw statistical study sufficiently mathematical to be science.
With the rise of the idea of quantitative measurement in the physical sciences (see, for example Lord Rutherford's famous maxim that any knowledge that one cannot measure numerically "is a poor sort of knowledge"), the stage was set for the conception of the humanities as being precursors to socialscience.
As a result, many researchers argued that the methodology used in the natural sciences was perfectly suited for use in the socialsciences.
This also resulted in sociology being recognized as an empirical science.
The goal of positivism, like the natural sciences, is prediction.
The inability of sociology and other socialsciences to perfectly predict the behavior of humans or to fully comprehend a different culture has led to the socialsciences being labeled "soft sciences. " While some might consider this label derogatory, in a sense it can be seen as an admission of the remarkable complexity of humans as social animals.
Humans, human society, and human culture are all constantly changing, which means the socialsciences will constantly be works in progress.
Sociology is a branch of the socialsciences that uses systematic methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop and refine a body of knowledge about human social structure and activity.
Macrosociology involves the study of widespread social processes.
The traditional focuses of sociology have included social relations, social stratification, social interaction, culture, and deviance, and the approaches of sociology have included both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.
The range of social scientific methods has also been broadly expanded.
Social Darwinism explains individuals' success by attributing it to their greater fitness.
Like Comte, Spencer saw in sociology the potential to unify the sciences, or to develop what he called a "synthetic philosophy. " He believed that the natural laws discovered by natural scientists were not limited to natural phenomena; these laws revealed an underlying order to the universe that could explain natural and social phenomena alike.
Though Spencer is rightly credited with making a significant contribution to early sociology, his attempt to introduce evolutionary ideas into the realm of socialscience was ultimately unsuccessful.
Critics of Spencer's positivist synthetic philosophy argued that the socialsciences were essentially different from the natural sciences and that the methods of the natural sciences—the search for universal laws was inappropriate for the study of human society.
This is why Spencer's theories are often called "social Darwinism."