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Ha ha! This can't be considered to have a 'neutral point of view', old man.

Seriously, a historian often has to work for 20 years to master the chosen area. Unless you have a narrow definition of 'training', the statement is just wrong, about that.

Probably there is a better article to be written, on this topic.

Charles Matthews 09:35, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Hey Charles, I'm always happy to hear your feedback, even criticism. On the other hand, there are various articles written about this subject, of course, such as humanities, but neither of them will really explain you what it's called "soft sciences". By the way, let me stay with hard sciences and their "narrow" definition of training. ;-) I hope that you don't want me to believe that soft sciences are essentially the same thing like hard sciences, although in a different context. :-) No real training is really required if soft sciences, and I can enumerate you some people who have "made it" without any training. Finally, one more terminological issue - are you sure that your historian would be a soft scientist? I am not so sure. If he is, then - of course - I agree that the comment about training does not apply to him. --Lumidek 12:17, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Does anyone actually call literary studies "soft science"? I have never heard this, in English, anyway. --Delirium 02:47, 8 December 2005 (UTC)[reply]

--- But in general, history, literature, antholopology, mathematic or law are not regarded as science as their methodology is regarded distinct enough to be separate from science and their field of study existed well before the emergence of science. ---

As a historian I strongly object to that statement. I don't know when you "science" - probably referring to the so-called hard sciences in this context - first emerges, although I would say that the beginnings are probably Thales of Milet in the 7th century BC. History as a science probably did not begin before Thukydides, who lived in the 5th century BC. To say that no real training is required for soft sciences is a sign of gross ignorance. You know there is actually a method behind the way we deal with our sources (speaking of history) and yes, you need to learn to interpret these in the correct way. Ever heard of the Auxiliary Sciences of History ?

As a social science graduate student, I can say for certain that training is required to do political science-- at least in North America. It takes many years of study to truly develop the skills needed to effectively engage in political science inquiry. UCLAri 06:08, 4 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]


I think this article should be collapsed into the clearly superior article "Hard science."

I think this would be a good idea, except that this and the “Hard Science” articles are so messed up that if you merged the two, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish between them. (talk) 09:26, 25 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]


this article is generally underinformed about science in the world, it has a u.s. centrism that does not actually map onto science as practiced in the rest of the world. it needs research and cleanup. i made some minor changes to push it away from blatant falsehoods, but it is still very much anti-science and ideologically based in anglo-american scientism.--Buridan 12:19, 16 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

It creates an artificial and not broadly accepted division within the sciences in order to undermine the status of a whole section of science doesn't it? that by definition is anti-science and it fetishizes a very narrow definition of science, privileging it over the broader nature of scientific practics known worldwide. if you google soft science and anti-science together you find a strong relationship between the people who describe soft science and those that push anti-scientific positions. --Buridan 19:46, 16 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I think we need to look at also making sure that someone runs this sucker though spell-check as there are several typos, mis-spelling, and grammer errors. It should also be noted that this term is mainly used in a negative connotation and not usually used by those in scientific fields themselves. Valerie Isacks

interpretation & merging[edit]

I'm a non-scientist, here. so, this statment seems unclear to me:

The article currently says: "When "soft science" is used to refer to social science, the reference are not usually used pejoratively because it is accepted that that social science isn't as objective, and thus as open to interpretation as natural sciences such as physics or chemistry"

Shouldn't it say that social science isn't as objective, and is thus more open to interpretation? As it is now, it sounds like the article is saying that HARD science is more open to interpretation than SOFT.

Also -- on the issue of merging "hard science" into other articles like "pure" science, etc. --

As a non-science person, I came here looking for the phrase "hard science" -- "hard" and "soft" science are terms I've heard before (and are the terms used in "hard" and "soft" science fiction -- which is how I ended up here.) If these ideas were listed under "pure" science I wouldn't have found the page unless the page redirected. So if a decision is made to merge these into other pages, please make sure that a search for "hard science" or "soft science" redirects, since lots of American non-scientists have heard those words.

Aren't articles like this primarily written for the non-science types among us, since physicists, chemists, etc. presumably already know this stuff?


Exactly why is soft science categorised under Category:Science while hard science is under Category:Philosophy of science? Wouldn't it be reasonable to expect these two articles under the same category? NerdyNSK 15:23, 16 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Original research[edit]

This article cites no sources or references to show that the term is in use and that the claims made in the article are have basis. Unless the article can be made to satisfy wp:v and wp:or consideration will be given to its deletion. Bobby1011 16:24, 10 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Merger proposal[edit]

Suggest a merge between 'Hard science' and 'Soft science', under the title 'Hard and soft science'. Almost all sources on the topic mention both hard science and soft science as a contrast, an article on one inevitably will discuss it in terms of the other, with inevitable duplication. Having two articles also misrepresents the situation as a binary classification; most refs consider 'harder' and 'softer' as relative terms (eg, from hard to soft: physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, economics, anthropology - these examples taken from [1]). A single article would be better positioned to address this. Bazzargh (talk) 14:38, 24 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

An article proposal is here User:Bazzargh/Hard_and_soft_science. I've tried to avoid 'improving' this article too much, I've just mashed the two together. Consider it not as what the article should look like when complete, but as a starting point merging the two articles; the goal here is simply to capture what was in both of the previous articles. I don't think its worth discussing/changing the merged article too much; if the merger goes ahead we can fix it up in the real article and keep the history that way. Bazzargh (talk) 15:31, 24 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
really, shouldn't both be deleted as npov issues?--Buridan (talk) 21:11, 24 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Why? (see the NPOV FAQ). The term clearly exists, there are multiple papers describing the distinction in their title as well as their subject matter, I've provided cites to a book chapter about it...? There is a problem with an implication that soft science lacks value, but that can be stated, with sources, in the article. Bazzargh (talk) 00:14, 25 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

This article either needs to be expanded or included in a different article. It's pretty standard as far as article format. Beam 23:27, 24 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

The problem is that the two articles are descriptions of the same thing, relative hardness, or equivalently, relative softness. We already deal with this for real-world hardness by only fleshing out one of the articles (Hardness) while Softness has become a page disambiguating its antonyms. Expanding the article will necessarily discuss both hard and soft science. Bazzargh (talk) 00:14, 25 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]