Some central questions in the pure and social sciences can’t be answered by controlled laboratory experiments, often considered to be the hallmark of the scientific method. This impossibility holds for any science involved with the past. In addition, many manipulative experiments, whereas possible, would be considered immoral or illegal. One has to plan other methods of observing, describing, and explaining the world.
Natural Experiments of History by Jared Diamond and James A. Robinson gives assortment of essays that covers an impressive array of topics for a course on comparative studies of human history. The collected essays advocate how managed experiments may be utilized to the messy realities of human historical past, politics, tradition, economics and the environment. It demonstrates productive interdisciplinary collaborations but also reveals gulfs between different cultures of academia
In the historical disciplines, a fruitful method has been to make use of pure experiments or the comparative method. This book consists of eight comparative studies drawn from history, archeology, economics, economic history, geography, and political science. The research covers a spectrum of approaches, ranging from a non-quantitative narrative type within the early chapters to quantitative statistical analyses within the later chapters.
This text describes new ways of historical pondering and historical research by drawing attention, on the one hand, to the similarities between science (including social sciences) and historical past, and on the other, through the use of social sciences methods, particularly statistical evaluation, to review history. The editors argue that though the distinction between research of nature and human historical past is clear, there are clear overlaps. They are often viewed by way of finding out comparative historical past or by conducting “natural experiments of history” and analyzing the “perturbations” and their causes.
The research ranges from a simple two-means comparability of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola, to comparisons of 81 Pacific islands and 33 areas of India. The societies mentioned are contemporary ones, literate societies of recent centuries, and non-literate previous societies. Authors focus on how to deal with methodological problems frequent to those and different natural experiments of history.
Natural Experiments of History [Paperback]
Jared Diamond and James A. Robinson
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (April 15, 2011)