IMPLICATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY AND HISTORY OF SCIENCE FOR METHOD IN SOCIOLOGY

JAMES CHRISTOPHER MC ELENEY, Fordham University

Abstract

Rather than assuming the irrationality of the physical science enterprise, which assumption conduces to a legitimation of paradigmatic pluralism in sociology or to analyses of theoretical perspectives in sociology as mere personal political predilection, this work recognizes the fundamental reasonableness of the physical science enterprise, that is, that physical science is an intelligent attempt to create an adequate explanation for physical phenomena, adequacy involving criteria such as unity, internal coherence, simplicity, and "fit" or correspondence to the phenomena. This recognition leads to a quest for an adequate synthesis rather than paradigmatic pluralism in sociology.^ The further recognition that an adequate physical science has frequently been inhibited by unwarranted preconceptions leads to an investigation of the existence and influence of such preconceptions in sociology. This investigation reveals that conceptions of the nature of man were altered to be amenable to a model of science as dealing only with the deterministic rather than first looking at man to see what he is.^ The deterministic model of man is traced in various modern theoretical perspectives in sociology.^ On the recognition of the invalidity of these preconceptions, an attempt is made to respecify the nature of an adequate sociology dealing with man as he is, that is, as a meaning creator and not as a puppet of natural or cultural forces. Only such a sociology is seen to satisfy the criteria of adequacy in science. ^

Subject Area

Social research

Recommended Citation

MC ELENEY, JAMES CHRISTOPHER, "IMPLICATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY AND HISTORY OF SCIENCE FOR METHOD IN SOCIOLOGY" (1980). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8020073.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8020073

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