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Old 08-27-2016, 03:52 PM
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Default Can The Usage Of Concepts Be Avoided?

I've finally got my Open University textbooks and have been giving them a good look today. Very interesting and insightful stuff with regards to the introduction of social sciences, though I have an excerpt, and following that, a question for you:

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Another difference is that social scientists use concepts. Concepts are words that are in regular use, but not everybody uses a concept in the same way. Using concepts is also part of doing everyday social science - it is impossible for anybody to think or to speak without using concepts. The difference is that social scientists try to think about the concepts they use and reflect on them. Social scientists also contest the meanings of concepts, so reflecting on how concepts are used is important.

Concepts put to one side complicated or less relevant details to leave a term that acts as a kind of shorthand - a simplification of what is a far more complex idea. Concepts make a difference to social science inquiry. They affect how social scientists describe the social world and the questions they ask.
My question for you guys is this: Do you think the usage of concepts can be avoided or minimised to an extent? Our society and indeed, our very lives are incredibly intricate and complex, and to give them such simplification is not doing them enough justice. Doing so could also lessen the impacts of strife and ignorance due to the large degree of variance from person to person. Of course, it is in our human nature to be reliant on concepts and they obviously have a place in our world, but to me, they seem to be overly interpretative and border on a metaphorical razor edge between fact and opinion.

And no, I'm not trying to cheat, this isn't a interpretative question set by the Open University, these are established facts that are a requirement for revision that I'm challenging.
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Last edited by Fallout : 08-27-2016 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:14 PM
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We rely on concepts to be as complex as we are. Nuance and interpretation are important, and concepts are what make them so prevelant. It leaves the door open to mistakes, sure. But without them, we would be stagnant or ignorant. Fewer concepts lead to a species like Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy. Everything taken literally, and a lack of understanding metaphors. If we all had rocking bodies like that, I'm sure it'd be fine. But as we stand now, that would completely suck.

Saying we have to use something IS a limitation. But that's like saying we need to use an engine to go over 100mph. Sure, it can sometimes suck that we need the engine, but then what? Horseback? That only gets you so far.

This conversation wouldn't even be possible. When all other available alternatives are even more limiting, you have to look at the best option (by far) and see it in a better light. A gateway to complexity, not simplicity.


It's refreshing to see this kind of talk on here. But ultimately, this isn't a conversation that can go anywhere. It's convoluted, and yet lacks multiple answers that don't sound like you need to be on angel dust to come up with.
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Last edited by Xemmy : 08-30-2016 at 05:17 PM.
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