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Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 65-68

Metaphors and social science

University of Manitobe, Winnipeg, Manitobe, R3T 2N2, Canada

Received 4 February 1999

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The social sciences have a considerable history of attempts to apply models and theories from the physical sciences. All such attempts have failed, primarily because social scientists have commonly not distinguished between applications and possibly useful metaphors.

Attempts to apply non-linear mathematics to social concerns will similarly fail. There are now no non-trivial applications, and there are unlikely ever to be.

But the phenomenon of reifying models and theories from elsewhere has long standing status in the social sciences, and DDNS can play an important role in monitoring those attempts.