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Durkheim and the Methods of Scientific Sociology.pptx

  1. 2. Durkheim and the Methods of Scientific Sociology Warren Schmaus
  2. Emile Durkheim French sociologist Principal architects of modern social science
  3. 1. Methods of Inquiry -pertains to how did Durkheim analyzed empirical data and used it to support his theories - endorses eliminative induction: one starts by making a number of observations of some phenomenon that we want to find the cause for. * enumerative induction, where we take every new observation of a candidate cause as strengthening the conclusion that it is the true cause. After many observations, one of the candidates is supposed to be much more likely to be the cause, and justify the conclusion that this is the true cause..
  4. Methods of Inquiry - Durkheim validates what Bacon called as “ decisive or crucial facts” - Durkheim’s methods of hypothesis and test however is not the current concept of the hypothetico-deductive method - Durkheim thought that one could not perform experiments in sociology. - The concomitant variation, a method of Mills, was used by him for testing causal relationship, emphasizing that the presence of a concomitant will not alone prove a causal relationship, instead a series of concomitant variations for comparison is best
  5. 2. Methods of Persuasion -this shows how Durkheim argued that his theories are superior to alternative theories in the field
  6. Methods of Persuasion -by employing the comparative theory evaluation, rival theories are rejected not only because they contradict existing facts but when they say nothing at all about them -they are rejected from generating unsolved problems that Durkheim’s theory does not Ex: In Suicide, he rejected the hypothesis that suicide rate varies with race because of the ambiguity of the concept of race ; or the insanity hypothesis for not being falsifiable -He also rejected explanation using the ad-hoc hypothesis Ex: Albert Einstein's addition of the cosmological constant to general relativity in order to allow a static universe was ad hoc
  7. Methods of explanation - those by which he accounted for such social phenomena - he combines explaining the meaning of a concept with explaining a fact by placing it under a comprehensive case -There is though ambiguity in his method of explanation concerning causes and functions. Despite his warnings in The Rules, not to confuse causal with functional explanations, he is also guilty of such. For instance, he made a clear distinction between normal and pathological cases
  8. -Durkheim is clear about distinguishing functional explanations from explanations in terms of intentions, goals, or purposes. -Sociology for him is an autonomous science… as SOCIAL PHENOMENA SUCH AS SUICIDE AND HOMECIDE RATES ARE NOT REDUCIBLE TO INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY)
  9. Professed Methodology -what is Durkheim’s actual working methods in his empirical studies - He presented the results of his works not necessarily in the temporal order in which he arrived at them or the logical order in which he derived them
  10. (The third set of distinction is ) Meanings of terms Durkheim being educated as a philosopher, used philosophical terms in his sociological works. These terms often had different meanings in French philosophy during his lifetime than the meanings they have taken on in more recent social sciences.
  11. In summary: ❖ These distinctions showed that Durkheim’s substantive works deviated from his expressed methodology. ❖ On criticisms on his opponents’ theories
  12. Contribution to Social Science Emile Durkheim most valuable contribution was his defense of a holist or collectivist alternative to methodological individualism in the social sciences. He demonstrated that there is a distinct class of social phenomena that cannot be completely explained in terms of individual behavior.
  13. ● Durkheim through social facts, observation, verification in sociology and statistical analysis distinguished sociology from philosophy through vivid scientific methods of inquiry still used in this day. ● Durkheim also gave valuable advice about avoiding common- sense terms and concepts. That is, to really understand social phenomena such as suicide or religion, we must step back from our ordinary notions of these things, which may simply reflect cultural and other biases.
  14. ● He discovered the process by which individuals socially integrate into society and developed various models to describe the interaction between people and society. ● Durkheim's work is highly valuable, useful, and applicable to sociologists. Emile Durkheim made important contributions to sociology and dedicated himself to the scientific study of sociology.
  15. ● Despite covering a wide variety of subjects, Durkheim's writings show a single, concentrated, organizing view of sociology's subject matter and objectives. ● His works contain many classics that have remained fundamental to the discipline of sociology, both through teaching and successive reinterpretations through which developments continue to arise through conflict with Durkheim's theories.
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