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Soc Theory Levine Lecture #3

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Sociology 2240E
Charles Levine

Sociological Theory Thursday, Oct 11th, 2013 France -> Enlightenment -> Conservative reaction -> Comte -the Enlightenment and the conservative reaction are directly opposed to one another -sociology of knowledge: how human beings think and what they think is influenced by the realities in which they live, your thoughts are generated by reality -there was not a communal tradition in England -in France, there was an emphasis on the individual and a strongly maintained emphasis on community creating a tension -rights vs. responsibilities, nominalism vs. realism 1750 Feudalism (caste-like) -King: backed by religion, had authority and power -Clergy: controlled legitimacy of the king and France’s culture, extremely influential (100,000) -Nobility: obey the King, tied into a system of rights and privileges between themselves and the King, are peasants (400,000) -Third estate: bourgeoisie (1,000,000) -Peasants: tied to Church, King, governed by tradition/law (21.5 million) -third estate not content with feudal France -need peasants (surfs) to aid them in production -introduction to the desire for rights, equality and freedom  choices -want to make a good life by selling their labour -modern capitalism on the rise in France -resistance to this = turmoil -1789-1800 the streets of Paris are washed with blood -take nobility to the guillotine daily 1) core themes of the Enlightenment:rationality, reason, and their potential development, are universal to the species -meaning that every human being has the potential to be fully rational and fully reasonable -rationality: the ability to determine means to an end (goal) -once you get used to rationality, it becomes habitual -reason is rationality plus an explicit decision about whether or not you ought to pursue the goal you’re pursuing 2) point 1 is true for all persons, the reason it doesn’t exist is because of cultural and political forces that interfere/oppose with it -its in our nature to become perfectly rational 3) social institutions are created for persons not vise-versa 4) the development of progress is the universal law of human civilization -progress is something that clearly, unequivocally serves the development of human rationality and reason 5) a relentless questioning of tradition -deism: the creation of a new kind of Christianity
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