SOC Lecture – September 18 th
Sociological knowledge and science
Sociology can help us find out where we fit into society as individuals and how we
can make society fit us.
Babbie: sociology is the study of our rules for living together, what they are, how
they arise, and how they change.
- Recursive quality to human life that makes anything we know tentative.
(Things are not static so you have to keep doing things to stay current.
Things are always dynamic).
- More pressing need for sociological insights today than any other time in
-Uses casual and probabilistic reasoning
-Tradition & authority – provide us with starting points, but should not be the end.
Errors in inquiry:
Science is about meticulously controlling for these errors and goes beyond
tradition and authority.
Sociology and common sense
-In the first place sociology, unlike common sense makes an effort to subordinate
itself to the rigorous rules of responsible speech.
-Second, there is a size of the field from which the material for sociological thinking
-Third, sociology and common sense differ in the way that each makes sense of
human reality in terms of how they understand and explain events and
circumstance. (Intentions- us vs. not).
-Finally, the power of common sense depends on its self-evident character: that is,
not to question its precepts and to be self-confirming in practice.
Characteristics of a critical thinker
Independence of mind
- A commitment and disposition favorable to autonomous thinking i.e.
thinking for oneself Intellectual curiosity
- The disposition to wonder about the world
- The willingness to evaluate all ideas, beliefs, or viewpoints fairly, and the
courage to take a position.
- Awareness of the limit of one’s knowledge
- Being conscious of the need to put oneself in the place of others in order to
- The willingness to pursue intellectual insight and truths in spite of
difficulties, obstacles, and frustrations.
- Awareness that one’s own approach is fallible.
Sociological research is undertaken with the objective of:
- Influencing or improving the social world in which we live
Foundation of social science
Science is about 1) logical (theory) and 2) observation (methods)
Study of Social Regularities – social research aims to find patterns of regularity in
Study of Aggregates
Language of Att