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Rumors of worthlessness of Social Sciences

This post is only in regard to Pakistan.

Social sciences (SS) include as you know from pure philosophy, literature to techno-economics. I've not given any time trying to understand what differentiates it from physical sciences, after all psychology today take great pains to present itself as scientific, i can't pass a judgement over it having no working knowledge of it even.

The concern of this post is not to reflect on the definition of it, of which all of us considerable intuitive understanding. The concern is concerning the lack of concern about it in Pakistan. And given the fact that nobody reads this blog (except few special nobles), i face a dead end: i've to talk to myself. Talk to Pakistan's faux-liberal-elitists in academia and newspapers and they'd lament over Pakis not getting themselves trained in Western social sciences. Its not that concern i'm concerned about here, rather what Dr Asad Zaman, primarily a math-stats-economist from Ivy Leagues, argued in his paper Improving Social Sciences in Pakistan that in a post-positivist world Muslims have a great opportunity to offer world a perspective in nearly all major SS fields from economics to education. The reason for this is that we've not committed and invested in building SS based on rationalism and logical positivism, and that our religious tradition is still intact which is the fountain of all sciences concerning humanity, man, society, law and afterlife.

i just reiterated his position without adding anything to it, simply because this viewpoint is least heard in academic circles, and certainly doesn't resonate well with those trained in Western thought who cannot see anything beyond it. The second-hand commitment to falsehood of slaves can be more enduring than those of the leaders. This is exactly why muslims have to be at the fore-fronts of all supposedly "secular/profane" fields of knowledge. (Its only the perspective and the methodology (perhaps) that make it profane. For more clarification i should read S Hossein Nasr's Need for a Sacred Sciences, and chapter, "Profane and Sacred Science," in rene guenon's Crisis of the Modern World.)

On low perceptions about SS in Pakistan. Those who don't see anything more worthy that fruits of modern technology deny the importance of less or non-productive fields of knowledge like philosophy, literature, etc. They do not know that they themselves are the very product of some world-view and a combination (perhaps) of various SS ideas, ideologies, etc., of which they've no khabar (news). This is not to deny what Hamza Yusuf said that these modern universities are teaching many programs that are just fluff and cut from the cheapest cloth. This is a misery too. Nonetheless, one should not comment on something one has not understood, let alone mastered. I cannot express how often times i've been shook by power of SS world-view or even, to be modest, a set of  ideas that shape and carve whole societies in a given direction when adaptation of a different world-view or set of ideas could have driven them somewhere else. Where are you going? We must invoke this Qur'anic verse, i.e. sign, every time we do something, or even think.

And as for the greatest myth that hard social sciences (as opposed to some time-pass programs, if any) require less exertion and utilization of brain cells and hardship of soul: it's just plain wrong! Give them a 100 page scholarly book and see how they sweat...

What i need to be doing is to articulate in laymen terms the importance of major fields of SS of which i've little acquaintance...

And Allah knows best.

5 comments:

  1. Regarding being "of worth"; what I conclude from my life is that we want one rule or conclusion applicable for all but the thing is its always "relative", Things are worth only for those who cold understand and appreciate their worth,for the rest they are just worthless,no matter how much you try to prove their worth....and probably it all goes like this without an absolute one thing,,

    Similarly , social sciences have a role in society building for those who understand the sciences and the role, and above all those who need them!

    Otherwise their are plenty of successful lives without physical sciences, or social sciences or business studies!!

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  2. Excuse me mr anonymous. I'm so curious to talk to you more at: i.umer.toor@gmail.com

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  3. I didn't think you'd reiterate the propaganda of relativists. There are many, many absolutes still intact from general disbelief that throws things perennials to the dustbin of relative utilities.

    This is nowhere more evident than in the classification of sciences of Muslims thinkers, scientists and philosophers, who like other traditional societies have always tried hard with great success to give things their due place in a hierarchical order, with a given Centre and Origin.

    But certainly you're right in the sense that one understands according to one's strength. In that sense we've to remember what Prophet said to the effect that there's a greater knowledgeable person above a knowledgeable.

    However, that was a very cold reminder by you ! Hence, one understands why allama tabatabai so used to distance himself anyone not devoted to learning. http://www.islamic-laws.com/marja/Allameh%20Tabatabai.pdf

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  4. You are right..
    I (disregarding whether its right or wrong) think that things come into discussion and are put into question only when there is certain disbelief or some loop-hole in the belief,..

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  5. Would it be rude if i ask you to contact me at i.umer.toor@gmail.com

    i seek to learn a lot from you... i love understanding mysteries

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