SOCB43 Lecture 5 1/06/14
Science As a Vocation
Science as the noblest thing one can pursue
- the ones who get respect for being able to tell us the truth about world
Who? Wanted to have personal feelings attached, didn’t like life of scientist because they
would have to specialize and commit oneself fully. They want a holistic mentality of life.
Weber rejects this romantic pursuit of romantic knowledge of life because real science
has qualities that contradict this:
1. specializatio ▯t his is what I know, I can’t know about everything, narrow and
2. fuse enthusiasm and discipline ▯ can’t just be about either or; need inspiration but
you can’t only have that, control creativity in form of methods and calculations
3. progress ▯ science is a progressive activity, differing it from arts. Products of
science, the things that we make, the output of ideas and research, are all made to
be surpassed not to last; cannot expect people to continue it for the next century.
But in arts, you can always go back to a great piece of music and when someone
makes something better, it doesn’t take away from original piece of work.
Demagification of World (disenchantment): rise of intellect and reason as the ultimate
basis of authority in life. Taking magic away from world, magic in sense of things
happening for now reason; look at it but cannot explain it. Idea of demagifying is that
idea that there can’t be magic, NO magic at all. There are a lot of unknowns. Idea of
science is that we can know all, nothing in the end that power of mind cannot reveal
(principle of sufficient reason: nothing is without reason). Driving force of moral for
What are the consequences?
- removes meaning of life ▯ makes it difficult for you to believe that
your own life can contribute. One way of looking at life is that the
cycle of life continues and you end up dying satisfied and happy.
With science, it is impossible of us satisfied with life. Your whole
life doesn’t have sense of completion, believe that you died not
being to experience something good.
- Removes meaning from science itself ▯ when labs were bring
invented, they believed that it would unravel the mysterious of
God. Science can’t tell you how to live. So if you want to know
how to live, you will have to turn to religion, politics, and arts.
Science can’t determine if its own results are good or bad. Ex.
medical science can’t tell you when you’ve had enough, if its
time to die, can’t tell you what beauty is. A physicist can’t
determine if you should drop a bomb that they made. This all
point toward Nihilism
- Nihilism ▯ Latin word meaning nothing. expansion and
domination of rationality… nothing to care about, nothing
matters. We lack something we can trust and believe is true that
can determine how to live, or say this is good and this is bad. How
do we determine and trust to be good or bad. There are many things we care about in life – health, family, career, honor, living
full life, political causes, and etc. So now we ask which of those is
the best. But now the high authority, which is science, should be
able to answer these questions, but it can’t. It can’t tell use what
to do. All it can tell us is that if you do this, then this will happen.
Ex. you smoke this many cigars, then you will die earlier. Weber
says this is where we are stuck, life as a clash of the gods –
different highest families that we look at, and in end, we can’t
choose but we must decide. Rise of rationality is taking away
capacity to rationally decide.
Positives of Science:
1. methods of thinking/ useful knowledge ▯ tools that sharpen your
2. gain clarity ▯can be clear about who you are, and when you
decide to commit something you know what you’re getting into.
Entering something with a clear mind.
Science can and must provide answer to questions. Science can provide moral direction
to society [contrasting Weber’s belief]
- created modern sociology
- prove that sociology is concerned with real hard facts, distinct
social types that are just as real as facts studied in chemistry,
physics, and biology
- social facts instead of physical facts
- facts that are subjected to
What are social facts?
1. NOT everything that happens in society ▯
2. External/objective ▯outside of us like a rock is – duties that are defined in laws
and customs. These are written down in books and in codes and one did not make
them up. They are already there when you enter a situation or organization. These
are facts, ex. Entering UTSC with a student handbook thrown at you. These rules
are not up to you and are written before you even entered
3. Compelling/coercing ▯We feel it is real when we feel resistance. How do I find
out that these externals are real? Try breaking that rule, and when you do, you will
discover that they will push back by hurting you. These are not biological or
merely psychological. Social facts are supposed to study the norms, institutions
that are outside us, that coerce, punish, and push us.
Objects studied in sociology:
- legal and moral rules
- religious regulations governing your life
- rules governing financials, how