The Social Sciences

The social sciences are a group of academic disciplines that apply the scientific method of inquiry, broadly defined, to study human aspects of the world. The social sciences are often characterized as one of the three great branches of learning, with the natural sciences and humanities making up the other two. The social sciences lack a shared theoretical foundation and there currently is a gap of explanation between the natural and social sciences.

From the perspective of the ToK, the social sciences study the fourth dimension of complexity, justification systems, and the Justification Hypothesis builds the needed bridge between the natural and social sciences.

There are a number of disciplines that make up the social sciences. Sociology (study of society and large group structures), anthropology (holistic study of human beings) and economics (study of markets and wealth) are three of the most prominent. Linguistics (study of symbols and syntax), political science (theory and practice of politics), and cultural geography are some other examples of social science. Some disciplines like history and law are thought to be between the humanities and the true social sciences. Human psychology, which consists of personality, social, cultural and clinical psychology, is considered-from a ToK System perspective-to be a hybrid discipline between the formal science of psychology (3rd dimension) and the social sciences (4th dimension).