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It also throws some light on the differences that exist today between

the standards of certainty and achievement of the natural and the social
sciences. It is often implied, if it is not stated explicitly, that the " objects "
of the former, by their very nature, lend themselves better than those of the
latter to an exploration by means of scientific methods ensuring a high
degree of certainty. However, there is no reason to assume that social data,
that the relations of persons are less accessible to man's comprehension than
the relations of non-human phenomena, or that man's intellectual powers as
such are incommensurate to the task of evolving theones and methods for
the study of social data to a level of fitness, comparable to that reached in
the study of physical data. What is siginificantly different in these two fields
is the situation of the investigators and, as part of it their attitudes with
regard to their " objects" ; it is, to put it in a nutshell the relationship between
" subjects" and " object"s . If this relationship, if situation and attitudes are
taken into account the problems and the difficulties of an equal advance in
the social sciences stand out more clearly.
The general aim of scientific pursuits is the same in both fields; stripped of a good many
philosophical encrustations it is to find out in what way per-ceived data are connected
with each other. But social as distinct from natural sciences are concerned with
conjunctions of persons. Here, in one form or the other, men face themselves; the "
objects " are also " subjects ". The task of social scientists is to explore and to make
men understand the patterns they form together, the nature and the changing
configuration of all that binds them to each other. The investigators themselves form
part of these patterns. They cannot help experiencing them, directly or by identification,
as immediate participants from within; and the greater the strains and stresses to which
they or their groups are exposed, the more difficult is it for them to perform the mental
operation, underlying all scientific pursuits, of detaching themselves from their role as
immediate participants and from the limited vista it offers.
There is no lack of attempts in the social sciences at detaching oneself from one's
position as an involved exponent of social events, and at working out a wider conceptual
f ramework within which the problems of the day can find their place and their
meaning. Perhaps the most persistent effort in that direction has been made by the
great pioneering sociologists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Hence, whatever else may have changed since the days of the pioneering
sociologists ,certain basic characteristics of the social sciences have not. For the time
being, social scientists are liable to be caught in a dilemma. They work and live in a
world in which almost everywhere groups, small and great, including their own groups,
are engaged in a struggle for position and often enough for survival.
The problem confronting those who study one or the other aspects of human
groups is how to keep their two roles as participant and as inquirer clearly and
consistently apart and, as a professional group, to establish in their work the undisputed
dominance of the latter.
The chance which social scientists have to face and to cope with this dilemma might be
greater if it were not for another characteristic of their situation which tends to obscure
the nature of these difficulties.

The same tendency towards over-generalization shows itself in many current ideas of
what is and what is not scientific. By and large, theories of science still use as their
principal model the physical sciences - often not in their contemporary, but in their
classical form.