Friday, December 14, 2012

Some reflections on Social Sciences in Pakistan

(This post is only in regard to Pakistan.)

Social sciences (SS) include as you know from pure philosophy, literature to techno-economics. I've not given any time trying to understand what differentiates it from physical sciences, after all psychology today take great pains to present itself as scientific, i can't pass a judgement over it having no working knowledge of it even.

The concern of this post is not to reflect on the definition of it, of which all of us considerable intuitive understanding. The concern is concerning the lack of concern about it in Pakistan. And given the fact that nobody reads this blog (except few special nobles), i face a dead end: i've to talk to myself. Talk to Pakistan's faux-liberal-elitists in academia and newspapers and they'd lament over Pakistanis not getting themselves trained in Western social sciences. Its not that concern i'm concerned about here, rather what Dr Asad Zaman, primarily a math-stats-economist from Ivy Leagues, argued in his paper Improving Social Sciences in Pakistan that in a post-positivist world Muslims have a great opportunity to offer world a perspective in nearly all major SS fields from economics to education. The reason for this is that we've not committed and invested in building SS based on rationalism and logical positivism, and that our religious tradition is still intact which is the fountain of all sciences concerning humanity, man, society, law and afterlife.

i just reiterated his position without adding anything to it, simply because this viewpoint is least heard in academic circles, and certainly doesn't resonate well with those trained in Western thought who cannot see anything beyond it. The second-hand commitment to falsehood of slaves can be more enduring than those of the leaders. This is exactly why Muslims have to be at the fore-fronts of all supposedly "secular/profane" fields of knowledge. (It's only the perspective and the methodology perhaps that makes it profane. For more clarification i should read S Hossein Nasr's Need for a Sacred Sciences, and chapter, "Profane and Sacred Science," in ReneGguenon's Crisis of the Modern World, download PDF)

On low perceptions about SS in Pakistan. Those who don't see anything more worthy than fruits of modern technology deny the importance of less or non-productive fields of knowledge like philosophy, literature, etc. They do not know that they themselves are the very product of some world-view and a combination (perhaps) of various SS ideas, ideologies, etc., of which they've no khabar (news). This is not to deny what Hamza Yusuf said that these modern universities are teaching many programs that are just fluff and cut from the cheapest cloth. This is a misery too. Nonetheless, one should not comment on something one has not understood, let alone mastered. I cannot express how often times i've been shook by power of SS world-view or even, an idea or a set of  ideas that shape and carve whole societies in a given direction, when adaptation of a different world-view or set of ideas could have driven them somewhere else. Where are you going? We must invoke this Qur'anic verse every time we do something, or even think.

And as for the greatest myth that hard social sciences (as opposed to some time-pass programs, if any) require less exertion and utilization of brain cells and hardship of soul: it's just plain wrong! Give them a 100 page scholarly book and see how they sweat...

What i need to be doing is to articulate in laymen terms the importance of major fields of SS of which i've little acquaintance...

And Allah knows best.

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