Sociology 2240E Lecture Notes - Organicism, Intentionality, Atomism

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Wednesday September 26, 2012
Lecture 2
Questions:
1. What is society? Answers: Organicism, atomism
2. What is human nature? Some theorists think we are things by nature- happy/sad etc, they think
we are something by nature. Other perspective: nurture- won’t deny that people are happy,
sad, smart- they agree with the list but they say they are dispositions that are taught to us.
3. What are the relationships among society culture and the individual? Some theorists think we
are reactors- organicists think this- we are a role in society (student, teacher etc). Other
theorists think we are actors- can mean autonomy, or we are individuals- human beings can
sometimes demand change in society and give reasons to those changes- we can step out of our
roles (e.g become persons instead of just students)
- If you are a organicist, you are likely to be nature(2) and a reactor (3)
- If you are a atomist, you are likely to be nurture (2), and an actor (3)
- They can be the opposite but it is highly unlikely
- Epistemology- a way of knowing, a style of knowing
- Sociologists use two forms of epistemology: realism or nommalism :
4. What analytical Epistemologies are used?
- If you are a realist you explain social events and processes without reference to human
intentionality, but with reference to “natural” processes.
- By natural could mean, human nature, biological factors, historical factors- by natural we
mean everything that isn’t human intentionality
- A realist wouldn’t talk about a person’s wants
- Example: C. Wright Mills- our motives are not significant until after we do the act
- Nommalism: a person who explains social processes and events with reference to human
intentionality
- Descriptive logic: telling you what something was
- These terms are not only used descriptively but prescriptively
- Prescriptively Logic: saying what something ought to be
- If you are saying what something ought to be it is a value claim
- Value claims usually go hand in hand with the willingness to defend the claim
- Prescriptive nommalism- making judgements about what people ought to be like.
- Prescriptive realist: makes moral claims about society, processes- they are doing something
and its good, or its not.
- A moral judgement is a prescriptive judgement
- Make descriptive and prescriptive judgement all the time: it is a fundamental split in social
theory
- Value biases- believing the way you think is right. Ego involved.
- Social theory isn’t value-neutral.
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Document Summary

Some theorists think we are things by nature- happy/sad etc, they think we are something by nature. Some theorists think we are reactors- organicists think this- we are a role in society (student, teacher etc). If you are a organicist, you are likely to be nature(2) and a reactor (3) If you are a atomist, you are likely to be nurture (2), and an actor (3) They can be the opposite but it is highly unlikely. Epistemology- a way of knowing, a style of knowing. If you are a realist you explain social events and processes without reference to human intentionality, but with reference to natural processes. By natural could mean, human nature, biological factors, historical factors- by natural we mean everything that isn"t human intentionality. A realist wouldn"t talk about a person"s wants. Nommalism: a person who explains social processes and events with reference to human.

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