The Natural vs. Human Sciences: Myth, Methodology, and Ontology

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperSpecialist publication article


I argue that the human sciences (i.e. humanities, social- and behavioural sciences) should not try to imitate the methodology of the natural sciences. The human sciences study meaningful phenomena whose nature is decisively different from the merely physical phenomena studied by the natural sciences, and whose study therefore require different methods; meaningful phenomena do not obviously obey natural laws while the merely physical necessarily does. This is not to say that the human sciences do not study an objective reality about which we cannot have genuine knowledge. The notion of objective reality is discussed, and it is suggested that social constructions can be understood as objectively real entities.


  • Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • philosophy, human science, methodology, natural science, philosophy of science, objectivity, objective reality, social constructions
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Specialist publication or newspaperDiscusiones Filosóficas
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryPopular science