Nebraska Academy of Sciences


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Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences- Volume VII, 1979. Copyright © 1979 Larkin


Because of successful construction of theories in the mathematical, physical, and biological sciences, and because of their unchallenged technological usefulness, the philosophy of science has concentrated on the formal and epistemological aspects of sciences. However, the less formal social sciences have had a greater impact on society. This realizing character of the sciences, i.e., their influence on society through policy (in the case of the social sciences), has been inadequately studied. In this paper the normative character of the social sciences is seen from the perspective of realization. Norms as internal and external criteria, which are entailed by realization, are introduced and discussed, and the problem of how norms can be imposed on theories is shown by a formal model. This leads to a discussion of how the norms derived from the realizing aspect of a science can be applied, for example, in welfare economics and policy, the ethical foundations of social sciences (jurisprudence), and theories of justice. Finally, it is shown how these norms can serve as guidelines for a theory of the historical development of sciences.

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