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Sociology cannot and should not be viewed as a science

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?Sociology cannot and should not be a science? Science is a central feature of today?s society with science and technology practically revolutionising every part of life. However sociologists have argued that it is not possible or desirable for sociology to model its self as a science, whereas others sought to copy its success by producing a science of society. Positivists such as Comte believe that it is possible to apply the logic and methods of science to the study of society and that this study of society could lead to controlling it and improvement. A key feature of positivism is the belief that reality exists outside and independently from the human mind. Positivists see reality and society as patterned and believe that we can observe these empirical regularities. Durkheim believed that real laws are discoverable, for example, if physicists can discover how gravity works, sociologists can discover how society works. The method for accumulating this is known as inductive reasoning and involves accumulating data about the world through careful observation and measurement. ...read more.


For example, he found that the rates of suicide for Protestants were higher than the rate for Catholics. According to Durkheim, the social factors responsible for determining the suicide rates were the levels of regulation and integration. Consequently Durkheim claimed to have discovered a real law, showing evidence against the view of ?Sociology cannot and should not be viewed a science?. On the other hand, Interpretivist sociologists do not believe that sociology should model itself on the natural sciences. Interpretivists argue that the subject matter of sociology is meaningful social action, and that it can only be understood by successfully interpreting the meanings and motives of those involved. Interpretivists argue there is a fundamental difference between the subject matter of the natural sciences and that of sociology. G.H. Mead argued that human beings interpret the meaning of a stimulus and then choose how to respond rather than automatically responding. For Interpretivists, individuals are not puppets, manipulated by suppose external social facts, but independent people who construct their own social world. ...read more.


He believed that much sociology is unscientific because it consists of theories that cannot be put to the test with the possibility that they might be falsified. Thomas Kuhn whose ideas, like Poppers, also have important implications for sociology. His central idea is the paradigm, which is shared by members of a given scientific community and defines what their science is. It provides a basic framework for assumptions, methods and techniques. It is a set of norms because it tells scientists how they ought to think and behave. In Kuhn?s view, a science cannot exist without a shared paradigm. Until there is general consensus on a single paradigm, there will only be rivals on thoughts, not a science. Currently sociology is pre-paradigmatic and therefore pre-scientific. There is no agreement on the fundamentals of what to study or how to study it. Kuhn says that sociology could only become a science if basic disagreements were resolves. In conclusion sociologists were divided as to whether sociology can be a science. This division stems largely from disagreements about the nature of sociology and its subject matter. ...read more.

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