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BRIDGING THE INTERDISCIPLINARY DIVIDE: NATURAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES Dr John ZILLMAN Australian National Commission for UNESCO President, International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS), Australia.
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BRIDGING THE INTERDISCIPLINARY DIVIDE:NATURAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCESDr John ZILLMAN Australian National Commission for UNESCOPresident, International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS), Australia
Harnessing science for society: further partnershipsInternational UNESCO/ICSU/TWAS Symposium on the follow up to the World Conference on Science
2–5 March 2005. Palazzo Zorzi, Venice (Italy)
A group of studies concerned with man in relation to his cultural, social and physical environment; one of three main divisions of human knowledge, the other two being the natural sciences and the humanities. Although the social scientists usually attempt to model their disciplines on the natural sciences, aspiring to achieve a similar level of consensus, their efforts in this direction continue to be frustrated by the crudeness of their conceptual tools in relation to the complexity of their subject matter and the limited scope afforded for controlled experiments. The social sciences are usually considered to include: anthropology, archaeology, criminology, demography, economics, education, political science, psychology and sociology.
‘Greater interdisciplinary efforts, involving both natural and social sciences, are a prerequisite for dealing with ethical, social, cultural, environmental, gender, economic and health issues’;
Considering: (para 17)
‘The role played by the social sciences in the analysis of social transformations related to scientific and technological developments and the search for solutions to the problems generated in the process’
Proclaims: (para 36)
‘New initiatives are required for interdisciplinary collaboration’.
‘Communication skills and exposure to social sciences should also be a part of education of scientists’. (para 10)
‘Interdisciplinary research involving both the natural and social sciences must be vigorously enhanced by all the major actors concerned, including the private sector, to address the human dimension of global environmental change, including health impacts, and to improve understanding of sustainability as conditioned by natural systems’. (para 31)
‘All countries should encourage and support social science research to better understand and manage the tensions characterising the relations between science and technology on the one hand, and the different societies and their institutions on the other hand. Transfer of technology should be accompanied by analysis of its possible impacts on populations and society.’ (para 68)
- Bacon (induction) – ‘the scientific method’
- Descartes (deduction)
- Popper (falsification)
- Bush (endless frontier)
- Kuhn (scientific paradigms)
- Social organisation different from natural world
- Mind rather than matter
- But tried to follow the scientific method
- Chaos and complexity
- International Hydrological Program (IHP)
- International Geoscience Program (ICP)
- Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
- Man and the Biosphere (MAB)
- Management of Social Transformations (MOST)
- The Australian Academy of Science (AAS)
- The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)
- The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA), and
- The Australian Academy of the Humanities (AAH)
- Federation of Australian Scientific and Technical Societies
- Council of the Humanities and Social Sciences