Miss Essay

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Assess Sociological Explanations of Science and Ideology as Belief Systems A belief system is a framework of ideas through which individuals make sense of the world. There are different types of belief system; open and closed. An example of a belief system is, a religion. Belief systems can be an ideology. The definition of an ideology is a worldview or set of ideas and values. This definition is similar to the definition of a belief system. Although the term ideology is used very widely in sociology and often has negative aspects. Ideologies are often seen to be distorted, false or mistaken ideas about the world as they are often biased. The ideas are often ones which legitimate a certain group’s privileges at the expense of another group and ideas that prevent change by misleading people about reality. Marxists see society as having a ruling class ideology where the working class are always exploited at the expense of the ruling class. Feminists also see this but through patriarchy. Another negative view of an ideology is that it is a self-sustaining belief system that is irrational and closed to criticism, for example religion. Overall when the term ideology is used to describe a belief system it insinuates that the belief system is regarded as factually/morally wrong. Popper believes that science is an open belief system. He sees science as continually progressing due the open nature of science and its use of falsificationism. Whereby scientific rules and theories are open to the whole science community so other scientists can test, falsify and develop these theories further which leads to progression. Merton used the CUDOS norms to explain how science is an open belief system, he states that science thrives as a major institution if it receives support from other institutions and values. He, like Popper sees science progressing through the 4 such norms

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