“Sociology cannot and should not be a science”. To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? This statement, stating that sociology is not a science, is debated throughout sociology by two theoretical positions; positivism and interpretivism. The Positivist theory is based on the idea that explanations for events or people should be based on empirical scientific methods. They see the world as full of testable realities and use quantitative methods to try and support their theories. However, the Interpretivist theory is based on the view that everyone is different and that all knowledge and explanations should be based on interpretation, in other words, how people involved felt and details. They see the world as socially constructed and that society exists because of shared concepts and agreements. Context to them is important, as they use qualitative methods, and this helps them understand a situation. Science Positivists feel that sociology is a science, due to that it is valid to use scientific methods to test situations within society. They think that the methodology is useful and a reliable tool in searching for knowledge Positivists go against this statement by believing sociology is a science, because they view society and sociology in the same way a scientist views his work with atoms. According to Durkheim, a sociologist should be “in the same state of mind as the physicist, chemist or physiologist when he probes into a still unexplored region of the scientific domain”. Positivist sociologists believe that sociological research shares similarities to empirical research methods used by scientists, such as methods can be repeated and replicated experiments and get reliable information. This gives their claim some superiority. Interpretivists however disagree with this and suggest that the mathematics and philosophy may be true, but it does not necessarily link to the real world.
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