Sociology as a Science

Length: 6 Pages 1513 Words

Sociology deals with the ways that social structure and culture are related. Social structure is definied by a variety of ideas. The structure of a society can be seen as the society's organization, such as its religious, political, or economical institutions, rules, routines, and relationships that create the society. Social culture deals more with the beliefs and values of the society. Sociology is seen by some as a science, where facts can be obtained by collecting data, and hypotheses can become theorems. As a science, sociology would have to be value-free, and sociologists, as scientists, should not be interested in changing society; rather, they must be interested in observing and explaining it. Others believe that sociology, as a study of the groups of people, should be used to aid in the creation of a better society, and therefore sociologists should be obliged to alter and possibly fix society. This paper will assert that sociology should remain a science which seeks to explain the world. The concept of sociology as a science is supported both by the founding fathers of the field and by contemporary minds. These leading sociologists, such as Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Peter Berger, support the scientific aspects of so Continue...

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In addition, sociology must remain neutral to the religous, political, and moral values which it seeks to describe. Institutions such as religion, according to Weber, are used merely to explain things that cannot be explained due to lack of knowledge. In fact, in 1979, the largest breakthrough for science within the Catholic church occured, when Pope John Paul II stated that "the church may have been mistaken" about the assertion that the solar system and the universe is centered around the Earth! Sociology should be a science, and not a tool of activism. The field of cosmology-the study of the universe, in particular its origin-can be used as a model for the movement of sociology into a universally accepted, value-free science. Max Weber, like Durkheim, sought to give sociology a scientific nature. By using statistics, socioligists are indeed able to measure social facts. Additionally, when Gallileo Gallilei found that there were satellites orbiting Jupiter (proof that all planetary bodies do not have to revolve around the earth), he was ordered to publicly apologize and denounce his findings as false, or otherwise face execution as a heretic. Since sociology is a topic that is so closely related to the human being, it is therefore important that sociology "can be presented in intelligible English". He further states that "terminology is possibly even more important for the sociol sciences, just because their subject matter IS familiar and just because words DO exist to denote it". Its basic steps include observation, formulation of a hypothesis, predictions based on the hypothesis, and modifications of the hypothesis to more adaquately describe the obtained results. Furthermore, in order for Ptolemy's model to be correct, the moon would sometimes have to be half the distence from the earth than at other times. These ambiguities give people the wrong idea of what a sociologist really is. Berger asserts that there are six "ambiguities" about sociologists. He discounted such concepts as figments of society's collective imagination. For example, people falsely believe that sociologists use "intellectual barbarism", or difficult jargon, to appear more scientific.


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