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Lecture 9

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Dan Silver

Lecture 9 032012 Mead ScienceMorality Simmel Life Sociology as the Study of Forms of interaction Quantitative aspect of groups Conflict Hierarchy Sociability Remember where we left off we were talking about how he had this idea of a certain kind of everyday creativity thats part of normal social interaction We saw this idea with the I and the Me Anytime youre doing something with somebody part of that interaction involves some stereotype or expectation of how to behave and also conformity that is the me part of yourself But youll always respond in some way that is automatically determined by what is expected of you so theres always room for innovation and alteration of what you are doing This is the conception of starting a vague impulse of thirst and the process of responding to it you can reformulate it rethink it and redefine it This is a very different way of thinking about creativity innovation compared with how Weber talked about it Remember charisma the charismatic leader embodies possibility of social creativity because great prophets like a Jesus like a Buddha they dont have to follow regular conventions They dont have to follow regular conventions like normal people do They dont follow traditions They dont follow the rules They sort of act on their own and they break the Ten Commandments on the ground and say that it is written in this way but I will do it differently And in that way we create new rules which start to constrain what we can do and then maybe a new prophet will come along But notice that the picture is every life has tradition and rules and every once in a while there is this figure that comes and starts it all over again The Me picture has much less of a harsh division between great innovator and everyday life It says that social life is rich adapting and changing all the time Thats a difference in perspective about how social creativity and innovation works What does that imply for this sort of big question Science has become a major social force What does that do to the traditional moral thinking Weber the rise of science would lead to nihilism doesnt seem like science tells us what to believe but how to pursue it If science is the highest value there doesnt seem to be a single thing that is unifying and coherent to life Thats the idea of nihilism In science there is always constant change What seems true today may seem false later That seems unsettling in various ways because we want things to be bedrock truth that can give meaning to our lifeFor Durkheim theres this feeling this anxiety that the rise of scientific thinking will be a threat to traditional cultures Religion is what held society together giving it moral direction for so long We see that as science becomes more important religion is weakening as a moral centre for society What can fill the gap That is a question that plays these people
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