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Lecture 6

Week 6 Readings.pdf

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SOCY 122
Victoria L Friesen

Week 6 Readings The Promise of Sociology "From Descartes to Durkheim: Towards a Science of Society" (pg 123-50) - Durkheim argues that one must start with the complex moral rules that actually exist within a society and determine how these arose from particu lar social arrangements - Morality, cohesiveness, and solidarity are all created within a social whole - Descartes argues they should be divided into as m any parts as necessary, and the analysis must begin with those elements that are the simplest and easiest to understand - Descartes’ conception of method and his radical doubt cast all previous knowledge into question - Descartes’ method firmly supported the then -emerging inductive methodologies - Durkheim focuses on two different types of law – repressive and restitutive – to serve as indicators of which form of social solidarity, mechanical or organic, domi nates within a social formation - READ ALL OVER AGAIN The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology "Comte, Auguste" – (78-9) - Comte believed that human societies and the knowledge forms that structured them progressed through three stages – the theological, metaphysical, and positivist. - Since social physics consisted of social statics and social dynamics, Comte sought change through scientifically informed, ordered progress. - The law of the three stages, the tri umph of positive science, the conceptions of order, progress, social statics and dynamics, and social anatomy and physiology made Comte an early, passionate adv ocate for the unity of the sciences – the use of the scientific method in the study of both natural and social phenomena. "Positivism" – (456-7) - Positivism’s appeal to organized reason, or ‘‘science,’’ in the public sphere is fundamentally ambiguous. - On the one hand, it implies that it is in everyone’s interest to pursue their ends by scientific means, so as to economize on effort and hence allow more time for the fruits of their labor to be enjoyed - On the other hand, science can unify the polity by authoritatively resolving, containing or circumventing social conflict - If positivism has a future, it lies in rekindling a sense of ‘‘Science’’ that transcends the boundaries of particular scientific disciplines. This was how Comte originally thought about the discipline he called ‘‘sociology.’’ "Empiricism" – (184-5) - Empiricism refers to both a philosophical ap proach toward understanding the world and the principles and methods that ground modern scientific practices - A key philosophical question at the time was whether knowledge should be generated based on experience, as the empiricists argued, or on a combinat ion of intellect and intuition, as proposed by rationalists such as Rene ́ Descartes - Empiricist philosophy has become codified as modern principles of scientific inquiry, which include the formulation of verifiable hypotheses that are tested through unbias ed and repeatable experiments. - The scientific approach to sociology popularized by Durkheim and the hermeneutic approach roughly correspond to the modern quantitative and qualitative approaches to sociology "Scientific Knowledge" – (520-1) - sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) started to dynamically emerge from a broad church of sociological, historical and philosophical reflections upon the very nature, direction, content and truth status of scientific knowledge itself, rather than merely upon the
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