Theoretical Logic in Sociology, Volume 1: Positivism, by Jeffrey C. Alexander

By Jeffrey C. Alexander

This quantity starts through demanding the bases of the hot scientization of sociology. Then it demanding situations many of the bold claims of contemporary theoretical debate. the writer not just reinterprets an important classical and smooth sociological theories yet extracts from the debates the weather of a extra passable, inclusive method of those normal theoretical issues.

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Additional resources for Theoretical Logic in Sociology, Volume 1: Positivism, Presuppositions, and Current Controversies

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107 As a result of this strategy; Mullins develops, first, a description of "groups" whose members often share only the most superficial sociological commitments while disagreeing strongly on much more fundamental questions, and, second, an analysis of "theory" which fails to comprehend the basic intellectual disputes that have generated so- 28 Positivism, Presuppositions, and Current Controversies ciological conflict. In regard, for example, to the structure of theory groups, Mullins' technique of following only organizational ties leads him to describe Homans and Parsons as members of the "structuralfunctional" group in contrast to the "new social forecasting" school.

93 Koyre's historical reformulation also leads to a challenge of the positivist perception of the role of theory in science. Because his analysis of philosophical assumptions had focused on certain historically crucial experiments, Koyre discusses the theory problem in terms of the traditional conception of the logic of scientific experiment. He argues that the experiment cannot be viewed as the starting point for the purely empirical 24 Positivism, Presuppositions, and Current Controversies induction of theoretical generalizations, as spokesmen for the positivist persuasion have described it.

70t It is this same false logic that governs the movement from an acceptance of what I have called the first two positivist postulates to the characterization of this acceptance, in the third postulate, as a commitment to "science" it- Theoretical Logic in Scientific Thought 19 self. It is time now to elaborate in more detail the alternative, more dialectical understanding of science that I proposed in section 1 and to which I have periodically referred since. It is one of the major ironies of recent intellectual history that as the social sciences have moved toward the splitting of empirical from metaphysical concerns, toward the irrevocable separation of "philosophical" from observational problems, and toward the reduction of theory to fact, there has been developing a powerful movement in the philosophy and history of natural science that has become increasingly sensitive to the independent impact of the nonempirical, "generalized" aspects of scientific work.

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