Should I choose a scientific or a humanities stream?
“Small” addendum, but it seems to fit quite well. If we break down the apparent opposition between the humanities and the natural sciences to the frequently claimed opposition between the qualitative and the quantitative, I would have the following thought (quote) to offer:
“First it must be emphasized that the difference between the qualitative and the quantitative is not a difference in nature, but a difference in our conceptual system - we could also say in our language if we mean a conceptual system by language. I use 'language' here like the logicians, not in the sense of 'English language' or 'Chinese language'. We have the language of physics, the language of anthropology, the language of set theory, etc. (...) It is very important what kinds of terms appear in a scientific language. It should be clearly pointed out here that the difference between the qualitative and the quantitative is a difference between languages.
The qualitative language is limited to predicates (e.g. 'grass is green'), while the quantitative language introduces functional symbols, i.e. Symbols for functions that have numeric values. (...) We cannot look out into nature and ask: Are the phenomena that I see here quantitative or qualitative? ’That is not the right question. Only when someone describes these phenomena with certain expressions, defines these expressions and gives us rules for their use, we can ask: Are these expressions of a quantitative language or expressions of a pre-quantitative, qualitative language? ’
A second important point is the fact that conventions play a major role in the introduction of quantitative terms. You shouldn't overlook that. "
(Rudolf Carnap, Introduction to the Philosophy of Natural Science. Munich, 1986, pp. 66-67)
What follows from this? Among other things, that, according to Carnap, quantitative terms are “superior” to qualitative ones or at least more precise / precise. But it does not follow from this that “qualitative” is unscientific, incorrect, arbitrary, just as the “quantitative” has nothing to do with conventions, etc. Scientists (or at least those of them who like to lead discussions) like to pretend that they recognize the “world as it is”, “nature as it is”, and fail to recognize that their terms / language (the most? many?) as well as those of the humanities are based on determinations. (For example, what is the definition of “second” or “meter” or “kilogram”? In this sense, “there are” no seconds, these are “only” definitions ...)
The difference between the qualitative and the quantitative then does not consist in the “scientific nature”, but “merely” in the fact that finer, more exact and more flexible statements are possible with quantitative terms ...
Oh yes, and the reason why the humanities tend to subscribe to the qualitative and the natural sciences more to the quantitative is, among other things, quite simply related to the different objects of investigation: people and their relationships, expressions and products (social, psychological, literature, communication, etc.) cannot be measured as easily as the vibrations of atoms ...
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