Positivist Misconceptions of Science and the Search for Viable Solutions


  • Chompalov Ivan Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
  • Lubomir Popov




philosophy of science, organization of science, interdisciplinarity, soft paradigms, humanities


Prevailing current definitions of science are largely based on a traditional, positivist paradigm that favors the natural sciences and either denies or downplays the scientific status of the social sciences and the humanities. The disciplinary organization and institutionalization of research and systematic inquiry is still the norm. This article argues that the rigid organization of science and indeed the dominant view that there are hard sciences and soft sciences with the latter occupying an inferior position with regard to their knowledge claims and utility is pretty outmoded and does not fit well the current challenges and global needs. This is not just an academic issue but has clear practical implications in terms of funding and staffing, as well as the distribution of other valuable resources, especially in view of the dwindling federal and state funding for both the natural sciences and the humanities and social sciences. We develop our argument using as a methodological platform the ideas of ‘The Two Cultures,’ the ‘Science Wars,’ the new constructivist turn in social studies of science, and science as a social institution. We argue that current definitions of science need to be modified to include the humanities and to emancipate the social sciences and the ‘soft’ paradigms associated with them. This can form the basis of an earnest effort for better integration of different kinds of disciplines and for achieving much needed synergisms to tackle complex problems that tend to be multifaceted and whose solutions do not easily conform to single disciplinary paradigms. The contention here is that such a bridge between the two cultures can use as a model the social sciences, since they successfully combine methods from the natural sciences with approaches and theories common in the humanities. In our opinion, this is a feasible path to both greater interdisciplinarity and more vigorous collaboration between the different branches of science that can benefit both working scientists and society at large when dealing with pressing issues like environmental problems, the depletion of natural resources, pandemics, and natural disasters.




How to Cite

Positivist Misconceptions of Science and the Search for Viable Solutions. (2021). European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 7(1), 89-104. https://doi.org/10.26417/867rqe28x