Although the subject matter of the natural sciences—the objective reality—can be studied directly, the humanities and social sciences deal with the reality as we perceive it in essentially indirect manners. For instance, Max Weber (1968, p. 4) sees the specific purpose of sociology in discovering the subjective meaning attached to social action. The external observer discovers a subjective meaning attributed by the actor only indirectly, by studying traces that his or her actions leave on material objects, visual images, texts, pieces of art and so forth.