What Is the Relationship of Philosophy and Social Science?


Jane Flores

Philosophy and social science are two fields of study that are closely related to each other. Both of these fields aim to understand and explain the world around us, but they differ in their approaches and methods. In this article, we will explore the relationship between philosophy and social science.

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is a branch of study that deals with fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It aims to provide a systematic understanding of the world, using reasoning and critical thinking to analyze concepts and ideas. Philosophy is often divided into different branches such as metaphysics (study of reality), epistemology (study of knowledge), ethics (study of morality), logic (study of reasoning), and aesthetics (study of beauty).

What is Social Science?

Social science is a field that studies human society and social relationships using empirical evidence. It includes disciplines such as sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, political science, history, geography, and communication studies. Social scientists use various methods such as surveys, experiments, observations, case studies, and statistical analysis to understand human behavior.

The Relationship between Philosophy and Social Science

Philosophy and social science have a complex relationship that has evolved over time. In the past, philosophy was considered the foundation for all knowledge including social science. However, with the emergence of empirical methods in the 19th century, social science became more independent from philosophy.

Today, philosophy still plays an important role in social science by providing theoretical frameworks for understanding human behavior. For example, ethical theories can help social scientists evaluate moral implications of research findings or public policy decisions. Similarly, philosophical debates about free will or determinism can inform psychological research on decision-making processes.

On the other hand, social science provides empirical evidence for philosophical claims about human nature or society. For example, sociological studies on social stratification can support philosophical arguments about justice or inequality. Similarly, psychological research on cognitive biases can challenge philosophical assumptions about rationality or agency.


In summary, philosophy and social science are two fields of study that complement each other in their quest for understanding the world. While philosophy provides theoretical frameworks and conceptual tools for social scientists, social science provides empirical evidence and real-world applications for philosophical claims. By working together, these two fields can help us better understand ourselves and the society we live in.