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June 27, 2022 

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ZERO-SUM GAME: A situation in which a fixed amount is divided up among the winners and losers. In a zero-sum game the wins equal the losses. Many stock market, or financial market, exchanges are zero-sum. One person buys low and sells high, while another buys high and sells low. The wealth in such transactions are merely transferred from one person to another. "Productive" market transactions, in contrast, are not zero-sum. The act of producing goods and services from resources that are consumed to satisfy wants and needs results in a net gain to society.

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PHYSICAL SCIENCE:

The scientific study of the physical world, especially nonhuman, nonsociety phenomena, such as atoms, planets, wildlife, and continental drift. Common disciplines that study these physical phenomena are physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy. Physical science is one of two broad scientific classifications. The other is social science, which is the study human behavior and society.
Physical science contains the areas of study most commonly associated with the term science, especially astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology. These are the areas that were first to use the scientific method to explain and understand the workings of the world. Chemists, physicists, biologists, and astronomers developed experiments, data collection techniques, and hypothesis testing procedures designed to develop theoretical explanations of the world.

Because these physical sciences were the first to use the scientific method some scientific purists tend to look down on social sciences, including economics, as not meriting the title of "science." The distinction between social and physical sciences, however, is somewhat arbitrary.

For example, while psychologists study human behavior and chemists study chemical reactions, a growing body of evidence suggests that human behavior depends on chemical reactions in the brain. As such, are chemists who study the chemistry of the brain doing physical science or social science? Or are psychologists who study behavior related to the chemistry of the brain doing social science or physical science?

The conclusion is both and neither. The conclusion is that the real world is somewhat arbitrarily segmented into different areas, including physical science and social science as well as chemistry and psychology. This segmentation enables specialization of scientific effort as scientists become experts in narrowly defined topics. The real world, however, is a continuum of complex, interrelated phenomena. So long as this interrelated continuum is recognized, specialization produces all sorts of efficiency benefits.

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PHYSICAL SCIENCE, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: June 27, 2022].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | science | social science |


Or For A Little Background...

     | scientific method | theory | hypothesis | principle | law | phenomenon | empirical | world view | cause and effect | verification | abstraction |


And For Further Study...

     | fallacies | dismal science | economic science | technology |


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

     | American Association for the Advancement of Science |


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