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Sociology of Theory Lecture 2

Course Code
David Young

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Tuesday September 12th, 2011
B) Intellectual Forces
1. Enlightenment
-What was the enlightenment?
-Influences on the enlightenment
-Intellectual development and change in philosophical thought during the 17th and 18th
-Thinkers associated with enlightenment influenced by 17th C. philosophy Thomas
Hobbes & John Locke - focus on producing general and abstract theoretical ideas,
based on rationality and reason
-Wanted to combine reason & theory, with empirical research (apply real world, and
-Enlightenment and traditional authority - traditional values and institutions to be
irrational ex. values and institutions involving religion
-Consequently, thinkers wanted to overcome irrational values - oriented toward social
-Adamant in works of Marx
2. The Conservative reaction to Enlightenment
-Conservative thinkers rejected the focus that the enlightenment thinkers placed on
rationality & reason
-Instead, they emphasized importance of what enlightenment thinkers saw as irrational
(such as tradition, emotion, religion) acts of social life were seen as important
-Views on revolutions: political & industrial - seen as disruptive to society, oriented
towards social order
3. Impact of the Enlightenment and the Conservative reaction on Sociology
-Both had significant impact on sociology and sociological theory
-The enlightenment - some forms of sociology develop focus on being rational,
empirical, scientific, and oriented toward social change
-Conservative Reaction - some forms of sociology develop focus on being oriented
toward social order - apparent in development of French Sociology
French Sociology
A. The ideas of Claude Henri Saint Simon
-Conservative theory and radical theory within Sociology
-Conservative - largely wanted to preserve society as it was
-Radical - saw the need for changes to other parts of society (like views of Marx)
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