Chapter 2 - Sociological Knowledge and Science
Interaction and relations among humans including how humans live together and the
rules are coming to existence. For this reason Babbie claims that sociology is an idea
whose time has come.
Danger of localized wars among ethnic groups spilling over into wider, global conflict.
This danger is made worse by the possibility that relatively small, impoverished nations
could gain access to nuclear weapons, giving terrorists the opportunity to spark
If We escape threat of nuclear extinction, there is a real possibility that we will
overpopulate and pollute the planet beyond is carrying capacity.
One fifth of all humans on the planet go to bed hungry every night.
Add to this such persistent problems as crime, inflation, unemployment, prejudice
totalitarianism and national debts, and you have sufficient grounds for understanding the
ancient Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times”.
However we also live in times of great achievements in space like humans on the moon
and photographing distant planets.
These are times when human beings, working cooperatively around the globe.
There’s a comparable list of positive and negative aspects of life today, they’re equal in
Sociology involves the study of human beings.
Specifically it is the study of interactions and relations among human beings.
Sociology is the study of formal organizations, functioning whole societies and even
relations among societies.
If useful to view sociology as the study of our rules for living together.
Food, shelter, companionship, security and satisfaction are the needs of human beings. Human beings cream rolls to establish order in the face of chaos.
We voluntarily agree on the rules and some people impose the rules on everyone else.
In part, sociology is the study of how rules come into existence.
You voted on these rules by being them.
We are all socializing with each other all the time through the use of positive and
negative sanctions-rewards and punishments.
We had way too these established rules as they represent an eternal a universal truth.
Sociologist use the term reification to discuss the pretense that things are real when
they are not.
Rules of society are internalized the individuals and taken inside ourselves and made
Sociology has a logical and empirical basis.
To be accepted, assertions must (1) make sense and (2) correspond to the facts.
Sociology can be characterized by the term: critical thinking
Understanding sociology can empower you to be a more for effective participant in the
social affairs around you.
Sociological questions and answers
Recursivequality in human life makes anything we know tentative.
Human inquiry and science
Most of what you know is a matter of agreement and belief.
Little is based on personal experience and discovery.
Process of learning to accept what everybody around you “knows” is so.
Matter of believing what we’ve been told, the way human societies are structured.
Basis of knowledge is agreement. Looking for reality
Science offers an approach to both agreementrealityand experientialreality.
Agreementreality is what we know as part and parcel of the culture we share with those
Experientialreality is what we know from personal experience and discovery.
A scientific assertion must have both logical and empirical support.
Science offers a special approach to the discovery of reality through personal
It offers a special approach to the business of inquiry.
Epistemology is signs of knowing; methodology [subfield of epistemology] might be
called the science of finding out.
Methodology aluminates procedures for scientific investigation.
All people of many animals will exhibit a desire to predict the future circumstances.
Humans seem predisposed to undertake this task using causal and probabilistic
Recognize the future circumstances are somehow caused or conditioned by the present
Patterns of cause-and-effect are probabilistic in nature.
Effects occur when the causes occur then when the causes or an accident - but not
Whatever the primitive drives or in things that motivate human beings and other animals,
satisfying than depends heavily on the ability to predict future circumstances.
Attempt to predict is often placed in the context of knowledge and understanding. If you can understand why things are related to one another, why a certain regular
You can predict better than if you simply observe and remember those patterns.
Two important sources of our secondhand knowledge - tradition and authority.
Each of us inherits a culture made of firmly accepted knowledge about the workings of
Accepting what everybody knows, we are spared the overwhelming task of starting from
scratch in search for regularities and understanding.
Knowledge is cumulative, an inherited body of information and understanding is a
jumping off point for the development of more knowledge.
Knowledge appears every day, authority can both assist and hinder human inquiry.
Both tradition and authority are double edged sword’s in the search for knowledge about
Provide us with a starting point for own inquiry, can lead us to start at the wrong point
and push us off in the wrong direction.
Common errors we make in our casual inquiries and look at the ways science guards
against those errors.
Casual human inquiry, scientific observation is a conscious activity.
Simply making observations more deliberate helps reduce error.
Add a degree of precision well beyond the capacity of the unassisted human senses.
Overgeneralization We overgeneralize on the basis of limited observations.
Tendency to overgeneralize is greatest when the pressure to arrive at a general
understanding is high.
It can misdirect or impede inquiry. Scientists guard against overgeneralization by
committing themselves in advance to a sufficiently large and representative sample of
Replicationof inquiry provides another safeguard. Replication means repeating a study
and checking to see whether the same results are produced each time
Overgeneralization can lead to selective observation.
Once you concluded that a particular pattern exists and developed a general
understanding of why it exists, we tend to focus on future events and situations that fit
the pattern and ignore those that don’t.
Racial and ethnic prejudices depend heavily on selective observation for their
Other ways in which we often deal with observations that contradict understanding of
the way things are in daily life.
One example is the often heard idea that “exception proves the rule”.
This idea makes no sense but an exception can draw attention to a rule or to a
supposed rule, but in no system of logic can prove the rule it contradicts.
We often use this saying to brush away contradictions and simple stroke of a logic.
Gamblers fallacy is an illustration of the logic and dated a reasoning.
Science attempts to protect its inquiries from the common pitfalls of ordinary inqu