SOC250Y1 Lecture Notes - Agnosticism, Falsifiability, Reductionism

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2 Oct 2012

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SOC 250Y1Y: Prof. Bryant
September 12. 2012
Lecture 1
Sociology of Religion
- views the individual (personalities) as a social product of society, the group, a
a. the social factors or vases for religious beliefs, actions, experiences,
communities, etc.
b. the relevance or significance of religion in social life and history
- but the sociological study of religion confronts unique interpretive challenges:
- historical claims, beliefs of a higher reality
- supernatural /transcendence
- ex. Mana, Chi, Karma, Dao
- the idea of 2 realities, our world is dependent on the higher mysterious one
- concerned with the nature of "being", reality or existence, casually and
constitutively ("what the world is and how it works")
- Elementary motif to inquiry
- concerned with the nature of knowledge, how we know things
- knower vs. known
- natural science (exterior) vs. social science (within the subject frame)
- will analysis viewing from the outside, observing the subject mathematically or
Religion is based on a distinct ontology
the claim that there are supernatural beings or powers or a super sensible reality,
an Absolute, Divine, or Transcendent realm that is ultimately prary and casually
responsible for both the Natural world
Social Science has no direct or objective "access" to that purported transcendent
reality; it cannot be visited for purposes of measurement or examination (unlike
the realities of politics, art, war, etc.)
- the social sciences observe/study the subject mostly through interviews and
seeing what other within society claim
- methological atheism/agnosticism (Peter Burger) - believe that there is no
higher realm/ there is no way to confirm this
Religion is based on and creates an epistomological dualism or split:
religious believers claim the reality of the Divine or Trascendent; but social
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