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Lecture 7

Sociology 2240E Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Tuberculosis, Scientific Method, Social Evolution

Course Code
SOC 2240E
Charles Levine

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Wednesday October 31, 2012
Lecture 7
Last Week:
- Concluded that Hegel even though he tried to synthesize the opposing forces of the
enlightenment and romantic conservative reaction, but he ends up siding with the Romantic
- His work has conservative elements in it- reason is in charge of history- he is anti-atomist-
- If reason is the prime mover, wherever it is that is as good as things can get
- His second story: about method, how to analyze things: dialectical logic:
- No thing is- something is never what it appears to be because it is always changing, always in
- All things are in the process of becoming actually what they always were potentially
- Can call any thing a thesis but it is in the process of destroying itself
- It is step by step generating some kind of tension that will eventually destroy it
- The anti-thesis is the tension in the thing (thesis)
- When the anti-thesis is sufficient, the tension gets resolved through the creation of the next
potential that the thesis always was (synthesis)
- The synthesis is like the second step in reason and the thesis is the first step
- The synthesis is its potential
- Dialectical leap or negation of the negation: we don’t know when the synthesis will happen until
it happens, it is difficult or impossible to predict.
- When the thesis destroys itself in the steps in does so in quantitative ways, but when it breaks
you can’t predict when it will occur which constitutes a qualitative change
- When the qualitative leap occurs the tension has been resolved, the tension is gone, this is why
the formation of the synthesis is called the negation of the negation (the steps of the thesis)
- Example: Karl Marx: Capitalism is a thesis, what Marx is going to argue is that Capitalism is in the
process of destroying itself and when Capitalism generates sufficient contradictory force, it will
become socialist
- Romantic Conservative Reaction:
- In general, what has happened with the Romantic conservative reaction is three things:
- 1. Starting to talk about macro or grouped phenomena rather than individual phenomena- they
are realists rather than nomanlists
- 2. They are starting to emphasise the importance of social stability and deemphasise social
change- they are deemphasising social change in the sense that they are taking it away from
human intentions and calling it natural
- 3. They are mounting arguments in favour of defending the system
- They are realists not nomalists, for them society is morally superior to the individual (they mean
that reason does no reside with the individual but the moral is in the social- by morality they
mean conventional norms and values and their conformity to those things), society is real-
individuals are an obstruction- you need society and culture to give you a sense of meaning
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