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Is Sociology A Science? Essay

1937 words - 8 pages

By the definition, science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment (Oxford dictionary). This crude definition is elaborated further by a world-famous sociologist Anthony Giddens as ‘the scientific study of human social life, groups, and societies. It is dazzling and compelling enterprise, as its subject matter is our own behavior as social beings. The scope of sociological study is extremely wide, ranging from the analysis of passing encounters between individuals on the street to the investigation of global social processes such as the rise of Islamic ...view middle of the document...

He believed that all scientific methods share a common logical method aimed to reveal universal laws. Therefore Comte believed that sociology should apply the same strict scientific methods to the study of society that physics or chemistry use to study the physical world. He called all sciences the “law of the three stages” which claims that world has passed through three stages: theological (guided by religious ideas and the belief that society was an expression of God’s will), metaphysical (this stage is modification of the first one, from supernatural to natural. The beginning of a world that questioned religion and authority.), and positive (the final stage compared to earlier stages is truly scientific, and what is now understood while we peak of an explanation of facts is simply the establishment of a connection between single phenomena and some general facts, the number of which continually diminishes with the progress of science.) (Comte 1855: 26)
In a very similar manner to the other social sciences, sociology is rather distinctive from natural sciences. Firstly, it is impossible to collect data on social facts as opposed to the physical world. Social facts, unlike the natural ones, are not objective. On the contrary, social facts are reproducible as well as created by humans. Secondly, it is not only human beings who form the society, but also the society which forms the humans, i.e. their identity, values and behaviour. Thirdly, the social theory itself is inseparable part from the social life, since there is no way in which it can dissociate itself from the human activity without losing its subject-matter. Applying scientific research in sociology is not an easy task, as the subject-matter of the research is a human being. The research in the natural sciences is usually perceivable for ordinary human, whereas in sociology researched questions seems naturally realizable to all. But, what that looks naturally understandable and is not questioned, usually can be wrong or unknown. Because healthy thinking and its reasoning is commonly wrong. That is why only thorough planned and researched objective data may solve the society and its member’s interactions. (Dumbliauskas 1999: 4)
A Positive perspective that sociology is a science can also be found in the American television series named ‘Lie to me’. In the show, Dr. Cal Lightman and his colleagues in The Lightman Group accept assignments from third parties, such as the federal enforcement, the President, etc. and assist in investigations, reaching the truth via interpreting micro expressions, through the Facial Action Coding System, and a body language. This television series are based on the real-life scientific discoveries of Paul Ekman (he is considered one of the most eminent psychologists of the twentieth century). Ekman’s work on facial expressions showed that they are not culturally determined by emotions, but universal across human cultures and thus biological in origin....

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