Contemporary articles citing Feyerabend P (1975) Method Outline Anarc
world, understanding, theories, modern, knowledge, life, epistemological, sociologists, concept, finally
- Reed, Isaac. 2010. "Epistemology Contextualized: Social-scientific Knowledge in a Postpositivist Era." Sociological Theory. 28:1 20-39.
- In the production of knowledge about social life, two social contexts come together: the context of investigation, consisting of the social world of the investigator, and the context of explanation, consisting of the social world of the actors who are the subject of study. The nature of, and relationship between, these contexts is imagined in philosophy; managed, rewarded, and sanctioned in graduate seminars, journal reviews, and tenure cases; and practiced in research. Positivism proposed to produce objective knowledge by suppressing the nonlogical and nonobservational aspects of the contexts. Attacks on positivism disputed the effectiveness and rationality of this strategy. Thus ``postpositivism'' can be understood as a series of attempts to reconstitute the relation between the contexts as the basis for accurate social knowledge. Two of the most important of these attempts-grounded theory and postmodern anthropology-are considered, and a synthesis, which draws from the insights of cultural sociology, is proposed.
- Abend, G. 2006. "Styles of Sociological Thought: Sociologies, Epistemologies, and the Mexican and Us Quests for Truth." Sociological Theory. 24:1 1-41.
- Both U.S. and Mexican sociologies allege that they are in the business of making true scientific knowledge claims about the social world. Conventional conceptions of science notwithstanding, I demonstrate that their claims to truth and scientificity are based on alternative epistemological grounds. Drawing a random sample of nonquantitative articles from four leading journals, I show that, first, they assign a different role to theories, and indeed they have dissimilar understandings of what a theory should consist of. Second, whereas U.S. sociology actively struggles against subjectivity, Mexican sociology maximizes the potentials of subjective viewpoints. Third, U.S. sociologists tend to regard highly and Mexican sociologists to eagerly disregard the principle of ethical neutrality. These consistent and systematic differences raise two theoretical issues. First, I argue that Mexican and U.S. sociologies are epistemologically, semantically, and perceptually incommensurable. I contend that this problem is crucial for sociology's interest in the social conditioning of scientific knowledge's content. Second, I suggest four lines of thought that can help us explain the epistemological differences I find. Finally, I argue that sociologists would greatly profit from studying epistemologies in the same fashion they have studied other kinds of scientific and nonscientific beliefs.
- Mirchandani, R. 2005. "Postmodernism and Sociology: From the Epistemological to the Empirical." Sociological Theory. 23:1 86-115.
- This article investigates the place of postmodernism in sociology today by making a distinction between its epistemological and empirical forms. During the 1980s and early 1990s, sociologists exposited, appropriated, and normalized an epistemological postmodernism that thematizes the tentative, reflective, and possibly shifting nature of knowledge. More recently, however, sociologists have recognized the potential of a postmodern theory that turns its attention to empirical concerns. Empirical postmodernists challenge classical modern concepts to develop research programs based on new concepts like time-space reorganization, risk society, consumer capitalism, and postmodern ethics. But they do so with an appreciation for the uncertainty of the social world, ourselves, our concepts, and our commitment to our concepts that results from the encounter with postmodern epistemology. Ultimately, this article suggests that understanding postmodernism as a combination of these two moments can lead to a sociology whose epistemological modesty and empirical sensitivity encourage a deeper and broader approach to the contemporary social world.
- Black, D. 2000. "Dreams of Pure Sociology." Sociological Theory. 18:3 343-367.
- Unlike older sciences such as physics and biology, sociology has never had a revolution. Modern sociology is still classical-largely psychological, teleological, and individualistic-and evert less scientific than classical sociology. But pure sociology is different: It predicts and explains the behavior of social life with its location and direction in social space-its geometry. Here I illustrate pure sociology with formulations about the behavior of ideas, ideas, including a theory of scienticity that predicts and explains the degree to which an idea is likely to be scientific (testable, general, simple, valid, and original). For example: Scienticity is a curvilinear function of social distance from the subject. This formulation explains numerous facts about the history and practice of science, such as why some sciences evolved earlier and faster than others and why so much sociology is so unscientific. Because scientific theory is the most scientific science, the theory of scienticity also implies a theory of theory and a methodology far the development of theory.
- Arditi, J. 1996. "Simmel's Theory of Alienation and the Decline of the Nonrational." Sociological Theory. 14:2 93-108.
- By any standard, nonrationality is an undertheorized concept in sociology. This paper attempts to open a discussion on nonrationality by analyzing one of the most fruitful theorizations of the concept: Simmels. Simmel developed a theory that placed nonrationality on the same plane with rationality and attributed to the former a role as fundamental as the latter's in the foundations of action, and as central as the latter's in the generation of existential meanings. The gradual eclipse of the nonrational elements of life in the expanses of a modern, highly rationalized world imply, then, an impoverishment of being. I argue that Simmel's theory of the nonrational can serve as a model capable of enriching our understanding of society and of the person and can, in this sense, serve as a counterpoint to current sociological theories that emphasize the rational elements of life and conceive the person in primarily rational terms.
- Abend, Gabriel. 2008. "Two Main Problems in the Sociology of Morality." Theory and Society. 37:2 87-125.
- Sociologists often ask why particular groups of people have the moral views that they do. I argue that sociology's empirical research on morality relies, implicitly or explicitly, on unsophisticated and even obsolete ethical theories, and thus is based on inadequate conceptions of the ontology, epistemology, and semantics of morality. In this article I address the two main problems in the sociology of morality: (1) the problem of moral truth, and (2) the problem of value freedom. I identify two ideal-typical approaches. While the Weberian paradigm rejects the concept of moral truth, the Durkheimian paradigm accepts it. By contrast, I argue that sociology should be metaphysically agnostic, yet in practice it should proceed as though there were no moral truths. The Weberians claim that the sociology of morality can and should be value free; the Durkheimians claim that it cannot and it should not. My argument is that, while it is true that factual statements presuppose value judgments, it does not follow that sociologists are moral philosophers in disguise. Finally, I contend that in order for sociology to improve its understanding of morality, better conceptual, epistemological, and methodological foundations are needed.