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Critical and Philosophical Issues in the Social Sciences - Essay Example

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Exploring the Dogma of Critical Thinking in Social Sciences By: Presented To: Subject: Sociology Institution: Date Introduction: Social science, after a prolonged period of relative dormancy, emerged as an equally inquisitive, exciting and analytics oriented field of study as others such as Medical Science…
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Critical and Philosophical Issues in the Social Sciences
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Critical and Philosophical Issues in the Social Sciences

Download file to see previous pages... Critical thinking has made its scope vast and diverse since instead of employing the traditional approach of documenting the information, it now aims at changing it altogether by integrating and utilizing information from all its sub-categories. However, there has been an unending debate and confusion over the role of critical thinking in social sciences and the core concept that it envisages. Furthermore, the need and necessity of this sort of an approach and the way it can prove beneficial for humanity and society in a broader spectrum is also often argued and deliberated. This paper sheds light on the concept of critical thinking in social sciences and its scope with reference to various influential schools of thoughts in this regard. The paper will focus on explaining the aspect of critical thinking in social science with help from definitions and relative fragmentations found in concepts from prominent theorists. Understanding Critical Thinking: To analyse what critical stands for in social science, it is important to gain an understanding about critical thinking or the element of critique in a study. The concept of critical thinking as an approach has been developing for probably hundreds of years and still the exact outline and jurisdiction that it embodies is yet to be determined precisely. (Dahms, 2011, p.5) Various theorists explain it differently. For instance, Harvey Siegal explained Critical Thinking as a direction that “is appropriately moved by reason” (Cited in Caver, 1999, p.2). Robert Ennis, on the other hand, stated that “it is a rational reflective thinking concerned with what to do or believe” (Cited in Caver, 1999, p.2). Kathleen Caver (1999, p.2) is of the opinion that Ennis’ definition is more widely applicable and relatable to the concept of critique in social science because it “can be readily applied to all disciplines and the day-to-day conduct of personal affairs.” Therefore, in its simplest form critical thinking can be defined as a process of applying principles in an order that such judgments could be derived which bring forth a positive and productive change in the society. (Seiler, 2013) Paradigm in this context is of paramount importance because critical thinking requires model in all sorts of forms, that is, theoretical, observational and transcendental. Thomas Kuhn in his scientific cult like masterpiece “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” informed that a Paradigm in critical thinking is an open-end prototype that is found in ‘great works’ such as Newton’s Principia. (Cited in Forster, 1998) Kuhn argued that critical thinking requires analysing beyond expectations, observations and logic and therefore great works were left by scientists’ for their predecessors to dig deeper and resolve the dilemma (Cited in Forster, 1998). According to Kuhn, to employ a critical approach into a study, theories, principles and values offered by previous researches may be utilized as a paradigm of normal science however; critical analysis is not completely dependent upon these forms of information. Kuhn stated: “A paradigm (though resisting change) is playing an essential role in allowing a scientist to recognize something as anomalous, as contrary to expectation, and this is an important precondition for discovery.” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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