The Logic of Verification

“The logic of verification” which Luker explains takes for granted the possibility of “qualification” — that a social phenomenon is (a) divisible into its smallest part, which can then be (b) assigned a numerical value and thus (c) contrasted and compared – is at times an unsatisfying method of verification, yet there is not a clear alternative available for social scientists who are looking to discuss subjective experiences in an objective way. The social world, as Luker acknowledges, is substantially different from the natural world, and thus trying to evaluate the two using similar methods will almost inevitably lead (at some point) to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of particular phenomena. The trend can perhaps best be seen in the university, where such sub-disciplines as political theory, traditionally housed in the department for political science, have been moved to less “scientific” departments (in this case, the department of philosophy – which is itself becoming increasingly quantitative in nature). The problem is that data can be persuasive, and hence we are easily convinced that the results tell an accurate and complete story when they often in fact do not.

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