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October 19, 2018 

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OLIGOPSONY: A market structure dominated by a small number of large buyers controlling the buying-side of a market. Oligopsony is the somewhat obscure and seldom discussed buying counterpart to an oligopoly seller that controls the selling side of a market. Whereas oligopoly is most relevant to product markets, oligopsony is most relevant to factor markets.

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SCIENCE:

A discipline, or topic of study, that uses the scientific method to investigate and explain the operation of the world by testing and verifying hypothesized relations. Science is commonly divided into physical sciences (including chemistry, physics, and biology) and social sciences (including economics, sociology, and political science). Science is not just a subject, but a method of investigation using the scientific method.
Science is comprised of a wide range of topics that employ the scientific method to explain the operation of the world and in so doing to accumulate a body of knowledge. Whether the phenomenon studied is planets, protons, or people, the process of inquiry is much the same. Hypothesized relations are verified against real world data. If an apple drops from a tree, will it hit the ground? Yes or no? Check it out. If the price of hot fudge sundaes rise, will people buy less? Yes or no? Check it out.

Physical and Social

Science is any structured, systematic investigation of real world phenomenon that uses the scientific method. The scientific method can be directed toward chemical, physical, or biological phenomena--what is termed physical science. Or it can be directed toward social, economic, and political phenomena--or social science.
  • Physical science is the scientific study of physical or natural phenomena that are largely unrelated to human behavior and social interactions. Also termed natural or hard science, this is concerned with the scientific study of such things as atoms, planets, wildlife, and continental drift and includes the disciplines of physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, and geology, among others.

  • Social science is the scientific study of society, including human behavior and social interactions. Economics is one of several disciplines that apply the scientific method to the study of human behavior. Others are sociology, political science, and anthropology.

A Continuing Process

Science is a continuing process that seeks to explain the world. Theories are used to imply hypotheses. Those hypotheses are tested against real world data. Those that pass the test (over and over again) become principles which are used to expand and improve the theory. Those that fail the test indicate the need to modify, or even discard the theory. Then the testing begins anew.

The process is ongoing. Science is a journey, not a destination.

Real or Fake?

Science is a particular method of explaining, analyzing, and understanding the world. Not everything that appears to be science, actually is. The distinction between real science and pretend science can be seen with a comparison of astronomy and astrology. Both "seem" to be the study of the stars. One, however, uses the scientific method, the other does not.

  • Real Science: Using a theory that contains principles such as the law of gravity, astronomy can generate a hypothesis about the relative positions of the Earth, Moon and Sun one year from today. This hypothesis can be tested one year hence against the actual positions of the Earth, Moon and Sun. Are they located as hypothesized? If they are, great, the theory works. If not, then science seeks to understand why the prediction failed. The theory is modified and additional hypotheses are tested. And along the way, more is learned about the universe.

  • Pretend Science: Astrology provides what appears to be similar sorts of hypotheses. These show up every morning in the newspaper. If someone is a Leo, born from July 23 through August 22, then astrology seems to hypothesize that this particular person will "take time with a family member and take charge of a personal matter."

  • No Hypothesis: Unfortunately, this apparent prediction provides no testable hypothesis. It presents no cause-and-effect relation that, if verified, emerges as a fundamental law of nature. What causes what in this "hypothesis?" Does "being a Leo" cause a person to "take time with a family member?" Is there an astrological force, like gravity, at work?

  • No Test: And how is this "hypothesis" be tested? What are the "variables?" What constitutes a "family member?" Does a distant cousin, twice removed, qualify? What events fall under the heading of a "personal matter?" What events do not fall under the heading of a "personal matter?"

    The prediction, this hypothesis, is so ambiguous that it is meaningless. At the end of the day millions of folks born under the Leo astrological sign, as well as those born under other signs, could say, "Yes, I took time with a family member and took charge of a personal matter."

    But most important of all, how could this "hypothesis" be refuted? And what does it mean if a Leo "did not take time with a family member" or "did not take charge of a personal matter?" Does this refute the "hypothesis?" Does this invalidate the "theory?"


  • Fixing Faults: If the Earth, Moon and Sun are not in the positions hypothesized by the science of astronomy, then something is wrong with the theory. Further analysis and hypothesis testing is needed. Perhaps one of the astronomical laws of nature is faulty.

    If a Leo "did not take time with a family member or did not take charge of a personal matter," do astrologists scrutinize and fix the "laws of astrology?" Probably not, because astrology is not a science, it does not seek to understand the real world.


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Recommended Citation:

SCIENCE, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: October 19, 2018].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | social science | physical science |


Or For A Little Background...

     | scientific method | cause and effect | data | law | principles | phenomenon | theory | verification | positive economics |


And For Further Study...

     | fallacies | fallacy of false cause | economic analysis | dismal science | economics | economic thinking | political views | technology | comparative statics | model | American Association for the Advancement of Science | American Economic Association | National Science Foundation |


Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | American Association for the Advancement of Science | American Economic Association | National Science Foundation |


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