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Volume :30 Issue : 4 2002      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Social Sciences: Current Scene and Future Horizons

Auther : Ibrahim A. Ragab

Social science theory and research in the Arab World is still dominated by the traditional positivist/empiricist paradigm evolved in the West in the nineteenth century. Scholars in the region still sheepishly cling to the aprons of past generations of social scientists who had based their scholarship on an outdated materialist, evolutionist worldview. Most Arab social scientists are hardly aware of the revolutionary accounts given by historians and philosophers of science which have shown that the current version of the ``scientific method’’ was in fact shaped by specific historical events which negate claims of universality. Its insistence on the ``belief’’ that sense experiences are the only legitimate source of knowledge, to the complete exclusion of ``revelation’’ was found to be the bitter harvest of the violent clash between the church and renaissance scientists in Europe. The resulting warped view of reality and of science led to the current ``crisis’’ in the social sciences. However, the epochal new discoveries in physics, and neurological sciences had decades ago, started the movement towards the ``New Philosophy of Science’’ and ``New Paradigm Research’’ which are holistic and more balanced - allowing for the inclusion of mental and spiritual factors as causal factors for understanding human behavior. This paper traces these new developments in some detail. These developments seem to lead towards a scientific revolution in the social sciences commensurate with Sorokin’s ``Integralist View of Truth and Reality’’ based on truths of revelation, reason, and the senses. The Issue is further developed to show that the ``Islamization of the social sciences’’ seems to be the antidote to the current malaise of the social sciences, providing the best hope for their furture effectiveness.

Key words: Philosophy of the social sciences, Theory building in the social sciences, New paradigm research, Islamization of the social sciences.

 

 

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