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Mead: Science and Morality
Sociology as the study of forms of interaction
Quantitative Aspects of groups
Mead had an idea about a certain kind of every day activity. You always respond automatically in a way
that isn’t necessarily expected of you. This is a very different way of thinking about creativity than
Weber. For him Charisma embodies the idea of social creativity, because they don’t follow normal
traditions and rules. They break rules, and do things differently which in turn creates new rules. In life
there are rules and structure, and every once and a while a great thinker comes along and changes
In science there is always constant change. What s true today might not be true tomorrow (Weber)
The rise of scientific thinking will be a threat to scientific culture, because religion has held society
together for so long (Durkheim)
Teleology vs. Mechanism
Telos means purpose or goal. Things happen because there was a goal or a purpose to it.
Mechanism is more the scientific aspect. You don’t know what the goals are at all. There aren’t
really even goals in life at all. Things just happen. You can just figure out what caused what and
adapt yourself to where the world is going. And this requires a certain outlook on life – we are
grubby animals on a rock living on a star.
We think of this in opposition, or in conflict with one another. Each person thinks they each are
on morally high ground. The teleological person sees the scientific person as living aimlessly.
Mead is looking for a way out of this conflict.
Intelligent Reconstruction –
o Think about what we’re doing in science in a very different ways. Must change our
purposes and goals. Pg 36.
o Health is important, so if you get sick, we need to know why so we can stop it. It may be
the case that religious norms about sex are spreading around diseases. So sometimes
religious norms and other norms need to be rethink (teleology).