4 Answers

  1. The most difficult question. Here, in principle, I know only two ways of thinking. Analytical and critical. If you know more, then share it, I will be very grateful. Analytics is a talent, a gift. But the critical one can be developed by the person himself. If you stick to the critical method, you will simply question everything. Both requirements and methods. Good luck with your thoughts.

  2. First, from a scientific and methodological point of view, highlighting the subject of research indicates that a person understands what exactly he is researching and thereby determines the boundaries of research. In some cases, especially in the natural sciences, a special emphasis on the subject seems superfluous, for example, if you are investigating the mechanical properties of a steel rod, then the subject of research will be “mechanical properties of a steel rod”. But in the humanities and social sciences, this distinction is not so obvious. I have experienced in practice that students on the defense of their diploma can not clearly formulate what aspect of the socio-economic system they studied, and as a result, the work contained a lot of unnecessary information that is not related to the subject of research.

    In addition, specifying the object, subject, purpose and objectives of the study in the introduction allows the reader to immediately understand what exactly this work is dedicated to and decide whether it will be interesting for him.

  3. Most likely, there is no point, and this is a vestige of the Soviet era.

    If you read social science articles published in good journals, or books on research methodology (for example, [1], [2]), then you will not find arguments about “subject” and “object”. The description of any study-in its most general form-consists of several aspects::

    1. Research question. In economics and political science, this is very often a question about causation. For example, “do wars between states affect the development of the tax system within countries?” or ” does economic growth affect the results of elections?”

    2. Methodology. By what means exactly does the author answer this question? Case analysis? Statistical analysis? A formal model?

    3. Results, and their discussion.

    In general, students who defend their dissertations in places that are not strongly influenced by Marxism-Leninism do not face the need to tell stories about the “subject” and “object”.

    [1] “Paradigms and Sand Castles”, Barbara Geddes

    [2] “Designing Social Inquiry”, Gary King, Robert Keohane, Sydney Verba

  4. Subject-yes, “object and subject” – everything is complicated.

    Defining the subject of a work, that is, its topic, formulated in one of the theoretical languages accepted in your science, is a normal part of scientific practice, and in fact it is inevitable. Any scientific text should have its own audience, which the author addresses in a theoretical language that she understands, and it is important for this audience to know the main plot of the text in order to understand whether it is necessary to read it, mention it in the bibliography, or discuss it. In a large part of scientific papers, the subject is defined in its name, so it is most convenient.

    The pair “object and subject” made sense in the Marxist-Leninist theory of knowledge, once mandatory for undergraduates and postgraduates in the USSR and the countries of the social bloc. Lenin's key texts Materialism and Empirio-criticism and Philosophical Notebooks offer the following logic. Matter is independent of our consciousness (since science has established that nature existed even before the appearance of man), matter is knowable, cognition is “the infinite approach of thought to the object”, and science leads us, ultimately, to the objective absolute truth about matter and its objects. Each individual scientific discipline, at a particular historical moment, establishes a relative truth that contains the “grain” of complete objective truth. By adding up and refining the relative truths of individual sciences, we are moving towards an objective absolute truth. From Lenin's argument, it is clear why his followers considered it necessary to define not only the subject of research expressed in the language of one of the sciences in a certain historical period (for example, physics of the XIX century or Michurin biology), but also its “object”, the final objective reality that we strive for.

    The problem with using the “object and object” scheme is that at the moment when we write our scientific work, the absolute truth of the object is not yet available to us, we have only approached it to some relative extent. We have only the imperfect language of our scientific discipline to call an “object”, but we lack the absolute objective language in which we can give a true name to our “object”. In Soviet times, it was possible to answer here that such a language is given by Marxist-Leninist philosophy. Dialectical theory is a reflection of matter, which itself develops according to the laws of dialectics (“the dialectic of things creates the dialectic of ideas”), that is, it is a correct language that is generated by objective reality and corresponds exactly to it. Now that you don't have to believe in the diamat anymore and you probably don't use it either, the answer to the question of how to call an object by its “real name” doesn't seem to exist anymore.

    In the transition years, when scientific communism was already abandoned, but “object and subject” were not yet available, it was customary to use systems theory instead of the diamat: now the object is a “system”, and the subject is an” aspect of the system “or”process in the system”. The problem with the language of systems theory is ultimately the same as with diamat: systems theory, for all its popularity in the twentieth century, is still not a universal language that everyone should accept by default. In the social sciences, for example, for some areas “system” is an important concept (supporters of T. Parsons, N. Parsons, etc.). Lumana), for many others, on the contrary, an extra word, without which you can do without.

    If we still need-most likely due to formal administrative rules – to name “object and subject” in our work, there are two ways to do this. The first is to define an “object” in the language of common sense or management documents. This was done, for example, by the authors of the famous study “Man and his Work” (1967) A. Zdravomyslov and V. Yadov: “The object of research is the working youth of Leningrad under the age of 30.” The second is to name the “object”, as well as the subject, in the language of the scientific field to which your work belongs. In the second case, we completely abandon the dialectic of “subject” (relative, limited to one scientific discipline) and “object” (absolute, objective) and believe that both “subject” and “object” are phenomena of the same order, both equally defined by our theoretical language.

    Defining an “object” in this second case is usually technically straightforward. In the subject of your work, these are usually statements like ” the influence of Y. on X.”, “X. as Y.”, “Y. as a factor of X.”, “Y. aspects of X.”, “X. in the theory of Y.” and so on – we find an object in the grammatical sense (school “supplement”) or in the semiotic sense, call it (“X.”) the desired “object”, and the construction as a whole – “subject”. Judging by my experience as a teacher, state commissions and reviewers, on which the evaluation of your work depends, usually do not find fault with definitions based on this model. The result is more or less similar to “object and object” in the old Diamat meaning (“an object reveals one of the aspects of an object”). Or maybe the examiners just remember how they themselves once suffered with the “object and subject”, and do not want to repeat it.

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