Many ecologists argue that solving the world’s ecological problems requires a more integrated understanding of human behaviour. MIT historian Bruce Mazlish argues that the social sciences need more integration to understand humanity. Chapter one is available on the New York Times site.
In The Uncertain Sciences, Bruce Mazlish presents a cunning and visionary examination of the scientific enterprise of understanding the human species and, by doing so, of its ability to address real life problems. He argues that disciplines that traditionally fall under the nebulous umbrella of Behavioral Sciences, such as Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology, and disciplines that are covered by the even more elusive umbrella of the Humanities, such as History and Philosophy, share a common interest, albeit with a different investigative focus. Namely, their desire is to understand the human condition and thus provide useful insights regarding its opportunities for amelioration. As such, they are the building blocks of what Mazlish calls the “Human Sciences”.
The author argues that the shared goal of all these disciplines would be better served if they were to interact more frequently and openly. He goes even further than simply proposing increased communication among the many and diverse disciplines of the “Human Sciences”. To ensure that these disciplines will transcend their own excessively encapsulated territories, he proposes an institutional change that will force communication and focus them all on their common purpose. Namely, he proposes the development and implementation of academic departments of the History and Philosophy of the Human Sciences.