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Lecture 6

Sociology 2240E Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Social Philosophy, Social Media, Atomism

Course Code
SOC 2240E
Charles Levine

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Wednesday October 24, 2012
Lecture 6
- Critical thing about Rousseau: he’s the first social philosopher to actually construct a method to
critic: man in a state of nature- he attempts to tell us what our nature is (indifferent) not only is
he attacking Hobbes (by nature we are evil), he is doing it in order to try to point out to us why it
is we’ve become whatever it is we’ve become
- Since we are indifferent, everything we are, we are taught. He agrees with Hobbes that we are
evil, but not by nature- we are evil by our first mistake- the invention of private property
- Hobbes gives us a justification of the people in charge
- If we are indifferent by nature we don’t have to fear a nature of evil, but can manipulate the
system to make us better than we are
- Main Themes of Enlightenment:
- 1. The potential for human perfectibility- they don’t assume it, they assume there it a potential
for it.
- 2. Critiquing tradition- which should be accepted which should be rejected
- 3. Our perfectibility is in the domains of rationality and reason (moral judgement)- must always
differentiate between reason and rationality
- 4. An emphasis on science- the best way to implement what you want to be done is through
science. Science is an important tool of reason
- 5. Degrees of freedom- idea that we can make mistakes
- 6. Methodologically the Enlightenment people are atomists- if you critique in everything else
you step outside psychologically and judge something
- The Enlightenment created a lot of interest as a social-physiological movement and was a cause
of the French Revolution
- French Revolution in 1759- Reign of terror
- Other half of social theory: the Romantic Conservative reaction
- It was reaction to the Enlightenment
- Two sources of concern: one is- the Enlightenment image of man
- Second: the Enlightenment image of society
- Have to attack the Enlightenment- idea of man and what society is
- The Enlightenment conception of man: this is why we call the conservative reaction Romantic-
an image of human nature- they didn’t deny rationality or reason. They said reason and
rationality are limited- there isn’t a potential for perfectibility because we have something else
in us- emotion that can produce irrationality
- Argue we cannot get rid of emotion but can only struggle with it
- Emotion is always there which brings irrationality, which makes reason and rationality limited
- They said the Enlightenment was naive about how we are (didn’t think about emotion)
- David Hume and Emanuel Kant- attack the Enlightenment
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