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Lecture 7

Lecture 7

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Sociology 2240E
Charles Levine

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 Conservatists - 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 process - 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 - 4. Social systems are comprised of interdependent parts- the stability of which cannot be understood simply in the present, the reasons for their stability goes back in time. We do not have the ability to successfully manipulate them. (let society look after itself) - 5. The romantic conservatists agree that to a limited extent we are rational and we are reasonable. But we are also non-rational, irrational and emotional. These characteristics put a ceiling on the development of our rationality and reasonability (we are not perfectible) - 1760-1825- St. Simon - He was the man with whom Comte worked - Comte worked for him - He was in favour of socialism, his image of it was State Socialism- it does not complement
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