GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: NO8

The social sciences are less likely than other intellectual enterprises to get credit for their accomplishments. Arguably, this is so because the theories and conceptual constructs of the social sciences are especially accessible: human intelligence apprehends truths about human affairs with particular facility. And the discoveries of the social sciences, once isolated and labeled, are quickly absorbed into conventional wisdom, whereupon they lose their distinctiveness as scientific advances.

This underappreciation of the social sciences contrasts oddly with what many see as their overutilization. Game theory is pressed into service in studies of shifting international alliances. Evaluation research is called upon to demonstrate successes or failures of social programs.Models from economics and demography become the definitive tools for examining the financial base of social security. Yet this rush into practical applications is itself quite understandable: public policy must continually be made, and policymakers rightly feel that even tentative findings and untested theories are better guides to decision-making than no findings and no theories at all.

Question List: 1 2 3 4

The author is primarily concerned with

  • A advocating a more modest view, and less widespread utilization, of the social sciences
  • B analyzing the mechanisms for translating discoveries into applications in the social sciences
  • C dissolving the air of paradox inherent in human beings studying themselves
  • D explaining a peculiar dilemma that the social sciences are in
  • E maintaining a strict separation between pure and applied social science

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