Status of Sociology

Topics: Social sciences, Scientific method, Mathematics Pages: 3 (623 words) Published: October 6, 2014
Status of Sociology

In field of study of sociology, there are opposing statements debating whether sociology should be described as scientific or not. This debate has been ongoing for several decades, some might say for a century. Notable sociologists and methodologists have supported this ongoing debate: Neil Postman, Jim Manzi, and Duncan Watts to be specific. To understand why there is a debate we have to understand what makes any field of study “scientific”, if we can’t answer that question, should there be really a debate? Let’s consider three notable sociologists and methodologists to broaden our understanding of “scientific” and current standing of the debate.

Natural science includes: physics, biology, chemistry and etc. something that all of natural sciences have in common are that their theories and findings can be explained systematically and easily calculated; through mathematical calculations and experiments, unknown can be answered and explained. Though, time required to produce answers can be unpredictable, but they can be explained. Because society has so many variables, it is hard for sociologists to write laws explain phenomena that occur. Postman’s understanding of scientific is that “science is the quest to find the immutable and universal laws that govern processes, and does so on the assumption that there are cause-and-effect relations among these processes,” natural scientists assume that everything in the universe has cause-and-effect, Postman says that sociology is not similar to natural science, because society has too much variables and human emotions can not be measured and calculated. Human cannot be written as laws such as Newton’s law of gravity or Einstein’s law of energy. Postman references Oakeshott, about the difference between blinking and winking. “A blink can be classified as a process, meaning it has physiological causes which can be understood and explained within the context of established postulates and theories;...
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