Social Science is a branch of knowledge whose subject matter is society and the interrelationship between individuals, as a member of society. Humanities is closely linked to social science, in the sense that the two disciplines deal with human beings and their culture. Humanities refer to the subject which tends to understand, acknowledge and analyze the human behaviour in all its depth and scope.
Practically, as a human being, no field of study is more significant than social science. It helps an individual to understand the society as a whole, i.e. the conditions which limits our growth and development and the opportunities which can be tapped for better livelihood. It helps in creating a society where human beings can live freely and happily.
In this discussion, we will talk about the main differences between humanities and social science.
Content: Humanities Vs Social Science
|Basis for Comparison||Social Science||Humanities|
|Meaning||Social Science refers to a realistic course of study that is concerned with the different aspects of the life of an individual within the group or society.||Humanities refer to the branch of learning, which covers fields like arts, classics, philosophy, history, anthropology, etc.|
|Approach||Scientific Approach||Analytical Approach|
|Concerned with||Basic elements of the human culture||Distinctive elements of human culture.|
|Concept of truth||Positivist||Relativist|
|Focuses on||Study of patterned behavior||In-depth understanding of the specific cases or events|
|Area of study||Tradition, Culture and Heritage of the society||Factual differences between humanity and pure science|
Definition of Social Science
Social Science, as the name signifies, is a science of society or say a science which studies the socio-cultural aspects of the human affair. It is that branch of knowledge which is concerned with the study of society, its interpersonal relationship with individuals (members) and its functioning.
In other words, social science is all about people living along in groups, families and communities, i.e. how they live, how they interact, how they behave, which language they use for communication, what traditions they follow, what do they wear, what is their religious affiliation, which ideology they promote, etc.
The study is based on the origin, organization and development of the human society, in the context of the relationship between individuals in society.
Its objective is to understand all the facets of society, along with finding solutions to the problems encountered by the society.
Social science is based on interpretation and qualitative research methods. It covers subjects like sociology, social psychology, political science, economics, geography, demography, history and anthropology.
Definition of Humanities
Humanities is a popular field of study, which is concerned with human society and culture, which makes use of qualitative methods which are mainly analytical, critical or speculative. The subject matter of humanities is thoughts, creations, development and actions of humankind in the past and present.
It tends to determine the defects in the mankind, as well as the ways to improve them. Basically, humanities attempt to make a man, more human. And for that, it prescribes an ideal behaviour for an individual to be called as a cultured human being.
Humanities explain an individual about his/her origin, genesis, neighbours, forefathers and also about the self. It introduces us to the living being who we have never seen, places that we have never been, stories we have never heard and ideas which we never wondered.
It is a multifaceted domain which covers anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics and language, literature, philosophy, psychology, law and politics, Arts, etc. Researches in humanities adds to the existing knowledge base about the world. It shows the variance in culture and communities across the globe and across time.
Key Differences Between Humanities and Social Science
The difference between humanities and social science can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:
- Social Science is the systematic study of social, cultural, psychological, political and economical factors which guides a person actions and decisions. As against, Humanities implies the field of research belonging to the human culture, primarily literature, anthropology, history, arts, music and philosophy.
- As the study of social science is based on reality, regardless of the time in which the study is conducted, i.e. whether the study is of ancient time or current situation. Therefore, social science is objective in nature. Conversely, Humanities is subjective in the sense that it relies on assumptions and philosophies.
- While social science uses the scientific approach to solve the issues, humanities use an analytical approach. And so the emphasis of the humanities is more on the feelings and emotions rather than the system used.
- Social Science is associated with basic elements of human culture, which ascertains the general pattern of human behaviour. On the contrary, Humanities focuses on the special elements of the human culture, especially those that seek to express the spiritual and aesthetic values and to determine the meaning of life.
- In social science, the concept of truth is independent of the context, whereas, in humanities, the concept of truth is dependent on the context.
- While social science focuses on the study of patterned behaviour, humanities lay emphasis on an in-depth understanding of the specific cases or events.
- The study of tradition, culture, and heritage forms part of social science. However, humanities attempt to find out the factual differences between humanity and pure science.
To understand the present day scenario of the world, one must have a good understanding of social science. Whether you talk about law, or international relations, or economics, all are simply branches of social science. On the other hand, humanities help individuals to understand the human experience better.
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William F. Spencer says
I just read your comparison of the social sciences and the humanities. These two disciplines are so closely associated that they resemble monozygotic twins! I have a BA in Social Sciences and a MA in Humanities. I am so appreciative that you decided to draft a comparison chart which I found most helpful in contrasting these two (2) areas of academics!