Introduction to Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

  • The social sciences and humanities offer us an understanding of the a changing world – how the world affects us and how we affect the world.
  • „Given that ‘to think’ still does not imply ‘to know’, it is necessary to make that extra step of reflection that will explain ‘why’ we hold a certain attitude or accept a certain belief” (Brčić Kuljiš, 2016).
  • “Active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends, constitutes reflective thought” (Dewey, 1910, 2).

„The function of education, in addition to acquiring new knowledge, is the protection of individuals against frivolity and rashness, and possibly even the elimination of any form of accumulated prejudices. Hence, critical and reflective thinking play a key role in education. There is no doubt that reflective thinking, as a special form of critical thinking, is a key competence in the educational process, along with writing, reading and numeracy. Education, especially philosophical education, is aimed at developing critical and reflective thinking, i.e., philosophical thinking because, in the words of John Dewey (2001), critical / reflective thinking, by its very nature, is philosophical (Brčić Kuljiš, 2016).

“Critical thinking encompasses analyzing, judging, hypothesizing, explaining and many other cognitive activities besides deciding and problem solving. Critical thinking is a process that occasionally ends up in decisions, but the process is not to be defined solely by those occasional consequences. And even if the decision-making or problem-solving were said to be the goals rather than the consequences of critical thinking, the matter would be unchanged: the process must be defined functionally rather than teleologically” (Lipman, 1987, 5).

Knowledge has a deeper meaning than opinion.

Understanding has a deeper meaning than knowledge.

The path from knowledge to understanding is defined by critical thinking.

„Critical thinking is reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do.” (Ennis, 1987, 10)

The main questions of critical thinking are: WHY? and HOW?


Philosophy is built on asking ‘Why?’ and that question is always the very beginning of education because asking it encourages disclosure and reflection. All of this is part of the educational process and it challenges participants to uncover a deeper sense, and thus, to understand everything new that appears on the educational horizon. The basis of this approach is contained in the process of developing, nurturing and encouraging reflective thinking.” (Brčić Kuljiš, 2016)


Question ‘How?’ seeks explanation; it does not stop at what is visible at first sight, but seeks meaning and content ‘behind the curtain’ – through the explained it allows us to understand.

Social Sciences

  • The social sciences – dealing with the origins and development of human society and the institutions, relationships and ideas that shape human life – focus on the social aspect. 
  • The goal of the social sciences is to discover patterns of human behavior and actions – through time or at a given time.
  • The value of the social sciences lies in the fact that it:
    • allows us to better understand the world around us,
    • as well as the position of man in the social world, 
    • taking into account that man is the one who creates the social world, but also that the social world creates man.
    • „….reveal patterns in our lives as individuals, groups and society at large, and they address questions of critical importance in times of global change and conflict by employing a range of research methods, including observational, qualitative and quantitative methodologies and experimental methods” (Statement, 2014).


The humanities are focused on the human and human being.

The premise of the humanities is the person as an individual.

The humanities include: the study of languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and the arts. 

The main goals: 

  • emphasizing philosophical and historical perspectives, critical thought and imaginative response
  • nurturing the human in man;
  • foster creativity, appreciation of our commonalities and our differences, and knowledge of all kinds.
  • development of human virtue, in all its form, to its fullest extent.
  • „help individuals fulfil their potential, fostering creative thinking, providing a deep understanding of cultural diversity, and thereby updating and expanding the global store of knowledge about human expression, actions, and institutions” (Statement, 2014).

Pre-final program MOH7! – Society for the History of the Humanities

What is Social Science? 

What are the Humanities?

„It is driven by a desire to examine and explain human behaviour and aspirations: What does it mean, and how can it be fostered? How can people and communities have the opportunity to understand empirically how and where society is functioning and malfunctioning; to explore the ethical foundations of decision-making and its underlying assumptions; to seek to learn from history; to scrutinise how evidence supports or undermines policy options; to analyse the drivers and implications of a changing world economy and polity, and how different societies and cultures interact. It encompasses all of  the elements that make for ‘a good life’ and a healthy society.”

„Although the humanities and social sciences have distinct methodologies and perspectives, together, they help us understand what it means to be human in a complex world that is dynamic and multi-dimensional.

The humanities and social sciences teach us how to understand, interpret, and respect our commonalities and our differences

Because increased interconnectedness brings increased cultural, social, and economic tensions, a peaceful and sustainable future based on successful economic and societal development requires an awareness of different perspectives and an understanding of diverse cultures, histories and social institutions. Mutual understanding can foster the respect necessary for a peaceful and stable world order in which economic and societal progress is possible” (Statement, 2014).

The social sciences and humanities develop our awareness that we have a responsibility for ourselves, for others, for community, society and the world at large. 

The social sciences and humanities allow us to develop personal and social responsibility – responsibility is an  interpersonal skills: interpersonal skills are “soft” skills that are easily transferable across industries and positions. Employers value interpersonal skills because they contribute to positive work environments and help maintain an efficient workflow (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021).