Sociology and Science

Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

AS Level Sociology (Sociology and Science ) Mind Map on Sociology and Science, created by nasreen_946_ on 04/16/2014.

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Created by nasreen_946_ over 5 years ago
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1 Auguste Comte
1.1 Impressed by the achievements being made in natural sciences, he argued that there 3 discernible stages in the evolution of human thought
1.1.1 1. Theological/ fictitious stage where events are explained as God's work
1.1.2 2. 2nd stage was characteristics of the middle ages with explanations involving subtle emissions from the divine and mystic influences. Metaphysical stage
1.1.3 3. Third stage that demonstrated that natural world is subject to the rule of definite laws that can be observed through exp. and the collection of positive facts He argued that these laws should not be limited to the natural world , even human society obeys laws of behaviour and sociology will discover these laws and become the queen of all sciences. This positive stage would be complete once all human thought was based on science .
2 Positivism in sociology corresponds to the narrow definition of science as quantifiable, generalisable and concerned to identify clearly observable causes and correlation
2.1 Positivist sociology is similar to empiricism - it is mainly interested in pursuing a research programms parrallel to the natural sciences, seeking to discover patterned and regular events in the social world whose occurrence is either caused by another event or strongly correlated with that event.
3 structural sociology - concerened with the cause of events at such a deep level that it may not be observable - not possible to say one event causes another
4 How successful and valid is "positivist" sociology?
4.1 1.Social science has not achieved anything like the degree of certainty or ability to predict if the natural sciences
4.1.1 2. Its methods are nothing like accurate - cannot use lab. exp. as there are ethical prob. and artificial situation for people, they use field exp. which are difficult to repeat . Therefore have greater difficulty in establishing cause and effect, it lacks the precision of natural science
4.2 Positivists point of view
4.2.1 What most sociologists is scientific in that sociology constitutes a body of organised data through systematic enquiry, using techniques that approximate to those of natural science , yielding data of similar reliability and validity
4.3 Good science is based on the hypothetico -deductive method
4.3.1 Stages: 1. Observation, 2. Conjecture, 3. Hypothesis formation, 4. testing, 5. Generalisation, 6. Theory formation The researcher must not allow their own views/ prejudices to color any aspect of the research programme. Otherwise the work ceases to be scientific and becomes corrupted and distorted.
4.4 The realist approach
4.4.1 A different view of science has emerged termed as the realist, that argues that it is misleading to typify science as being based on exp. and that outside lab, sicentists are faced with as many uncontrollable variable as social scientists. Nor is it the case that scientists work solely on the basis of observation. They cannot see viruses spreading or continents drifting apart, but they are able to guess these facts. The real causes are often knowable only by their effects. This the realists claim, allows social scientists to claim that they too are engaged in the same scientific project where many and complex variables are at work
4.5 The phenomenological approach
4.5.1 Whatever the claims of natural science, there is a crucial diff. between people and inanimate objects in that humans think for themselves and have reason for their beh., which enables them to make active sense of this world. Sociologist should be concerned with interpreting this view. Whether social causation exists is not relevant.
4.5.2 All knowledge is socially constructed, its simply a product of interaction between human beings. It is more valid to analyse science as a set of subjectively held meanings.

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