Positivists believe that just like nature, society is an objective reality made up of social facts, therefore is able to be observed and treated objectively. Also, as positivts believe society is not random but instead has a form of structure, this allows them to observe society empirically. Durkheim stated that sociology should be considered a science as it followed the scientific method. The scientific method being; a method of procedure that has characterized natural science consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses. Durkheim argues laws are discoverable and will explain patterns therefore sociologists can discover laws that determine how society works; this is called induction or inductive reasoning.
Also, scientific knowledge is testable; research must me able to be empirically proved and be observable with human senses. Furthermore, science is unequal with “common sense”; “common sense” must not be used in research. Finally, research should be free of extraneous cause; it should be explicitly for the good of knowledge and must be judged by logic. Therefore research must produce results that meet the following conditionals: “For all conditions of X, if X has property P and P=Q, then X has property Q” and “Statements must be true for all times and places.” Positivists make certain assumptions about the world. They assume that nature is orderly and that there is an underlying cause or pattern.
‘Hitler was able to establish a dictatorship because he banned other political parties.’ Do you agree? Explain your answer. ‘Hitler was able to establish a dictatorship because he banned other political parties.’ Do you agree? Explain your answer. ‘Hitler was able to establish a dictatorship because he banned other political parties.’ Do you agree?
While science protects us from natural dangers, it creates its own manufactured risks. However the good and bad effects of science show features distinguishing it from other belief systems – known as its cognitive power. It enables us to explain, predict and control the world in a way that non scientific or pre scientific belief systems cannot do. Sir Karl Popper (1959) argues science is an open belief system where every scientist’s theories are open to scrutiny, criticism and testing by others. Science is governed by the principle of falsificationism.
2. Comte considered Sociology the science of society. Positivists argue that Sociology could and should use the methods of the natural sciences. 3. The scientific method has been very powerful in terms of understanding the natural world.
A practical strength of lab experiments is that they favour science approaches, however controlling all of the possible variables can be difficult and it can’t always be done. An ethical strength of lab experiments is that all ethical issues are always dealt with, however lab experiments can be quite deceiving and they can potentially harm the participants. Finally, a theoretical strength is that the scientists personal feeling cannot affect the outcome of the experiment, however the validity of lab experiments is a weakness. Positivists favour lab experiments in principle because it achieves their main goal of reliability. They criticise naturalistic field experiments for reducing control over variables.
A scientifically accepted general principle supported by a substantial body of evidence offered to provide an explanation of observed facts and as a basis for future discussion or investigation (Lincoln et al.,1990). Again in simple terms, a theory explains how nature works. Can be modified. In conclusion, scientific laws and theories officially do not have the same meaning. I can understand how people can confuse these two words for having the same
This approach believes that the goal of sociology should be to produce laws to explain the observed patterns in human behaviour. Before presenting his own sociological explanation of suicide, Durkeim examined several other theories. For example, Durkheim rejected psychological theories of suicide. Although he accepts that some individuals may be more pyschologically predisposed to suicide than others, he does not believe that psychological factors can explain the differences in the suicide rates of whole groups or societies. Durkeheim observed that suicide rates differed greatly from one society to another but usually stayed stable within each society.
(Kleiner 589) John Locke was also an important influence on Enlightenment thought as he focused on the goodness of the individual and his natural rights. (589) Thus the Enlightenment was characterized by the ideas of rationality and reason applied to all facets of life. Man was free from the restrictions of the church and despotic governments. The major revolutions that occurred in America and France at this time were all spurred on by Enlightenment principles. Some of the key players in the Enlightenment were Diderot, Voltaire, Rousseau, David, and Jefferson.
Dewey’s faith in evolution over absolute religion determined his position on pragmatism and instrumentalism, as reinforced by his position that democracy, determined by the people in an evolving state, is the founding strength in education. Democracy is the larger