Whether or not the social scientist is pulling on a string with nothing attached to the end formed the basis for disagreement between Percy W. Bridgman '04, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, and Samuel A. Stouffer, professor of Sociology, in their discussion on "The Strategy of the Social Sciences."
President Conant chaired the meeting, held in New Lecture Hall at 8 o'clock last night, and lauded the sponsoring Graduate Forum for enabling authorities to exchange points of view on controversial subjects.
Professor Bridgman held that social science can never approach the certainty of the physical sciences because of the impossibility of controlled experiment and mathematical application in the social science field.
Professor Stouffer stated that human behavior is predictable, and disagreed with his opponent by declaring that "the controlled experiment is coming into its own" in social science.
"Yes, the job is hard," he said, but "our work and that of future generations will help regulate the complex civilization wrought by physical science and technology."