chapter  Chapter 4
18 Pages

A Universal Theory of Social Science

ByGilmore Crosby

Physicists have long sought a universal theory that explains all phenomena, whether relatively small or large. Lewin set the bar no lower for the social sciences. He was determined to establish a universal theory of social science that could be used to understand and effect change at the individual, group, and societal level. While acknowledging that small individual behaviors could not be predicted, such as which pair of pants I might chose tomorrow morning, Lewin believed that the majority of beliefs and behaviors could be reliably understood, influenced, and even predicted in the context of the system they are in. As Lewin put it, “One of the most striking features of this development (the transition from Aristotelian to Galilean concepts) is that the opposition between universal concept and individual event is overcome. Law and single occurrence enter into intimate relationship… Thereby the representation of single cases gains new scientific meaning. It has a direct bearing on the determination of general laws (Lewin, 1936, p21).”