I often say that sociology is a martial art, a means of self-defense. Basically, you use it to defend yourself, without having the right to use it for unfair attacks.
Conventions of generality and mathematical elegance may be just as much barriers to the attainment and diffusion of knowledge as may contentment with particularity and literary vagueness... It may well be that the slovenly and literary borderland between economics and sociology will be the most fruitful building ground during the years to come and that mathematical economics will remain too flawless in its perfection to be very fruitful.kenneth boulding
The application of psychoanalysis to sociology must definitely guard against the mistake of wanting to give psychoanalytic answers where economic, technical, or political facts provide the real and sufficient explanation of sociological questions. On the other hand, the psychoanalyst must emphasize that the subject of sociology, society, in reality consists of individuals, and that it is these human beings, rather than abstract society as such, whose actions, thoughts, and feelings are the object of sociological research.Erich Fromm "Psychoanalyse und Soziologie" (1929); published as "Psychoanalysis and Sociology" as translated by Mark Ritter, in Critical Theory and Society : A Reader (1989) edited by S. E. Bronner and D. M. Kellner
I have been accused of being ignorant of economics (although I am the founder and Chairman of the Board of a company which publishes seven professional economic newsletters), of being ignorant of sociology (although I am trained in sociology and was C. Wright Mills' research assistant at Columbia), of being unable to use statistics (although I earned my living as a professional statistician for five years) and of ignoring political factors (although all my graduate training was in political science).lloyd demause
A religious phenomenon will only be recognized as such if it is grasped at its own level, that is to say, if it is studied as something religious. To try to grasp the essence of such phenomenon by means of physiology, psychology , sociology , economics , linguistics , art or any other study is false; it misses the one unique and irreducible element in it the element of the sacred .mircea eliade
It is likely that the emphasis upon the metaphysical and epistemological implications of the sociology of knowledge can be traced, in part, to the fact that the first proponents of this discipline stemmed largely from philosophical rather than scientific circles. The burden of further research is to turn from this welter of conflicting opinion to empirical investigations which may establish in adequate detail the uniformities pertaining to the appearance, acceptance and diffusion, or rejection and repression, development and consequences of knowledge and ideas.p. 503 (The Sociology of Knowledge, (1937))
For Jews, the Messiah has never come; for Christians, He has come but once; for modern man, He appears and disappears with increasing rapidity. The saviors of modern man, the "scientists" who promise salvation through the "discoveries" of ethology and sociology, psychology and psychiatry, and all the other bogus religions, issue forth periodically, as if selected by some Messiah-of-the-Month Club.thomas szasz
Ludwig von Bertalanffy, a distinguished biologist, occupies an important position in the intellectual history of the twentieth century. His contributions went beyond biology, and extended to psychology, psychiatry, sociology, cybernetics , history and philosophy. Some of his admirers even believe that von Bertalanffy's general systems theory could provide a conceptual framework for all these disciplines.p. 2 (Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1901-1972) (1989))
The fear that seeing naked people in some way harms children is not supported, however, by academic research. The small handful of studies on this topic in psychology and sociology have shown, instead, that children reared in an atmosphere containing family social nudity may benefit from the practice. If this is true, then proposed laws outlawing either social nudity in the home or children's participation at naturist (or nudist) settings are unjustified.Mark Storey in Children, Social Nudity and Scholarly Study
Ludwig von Bertalanffy, a distinguished biologist, occupies an important position in the intellectual history of the twentieth century. His contributions went beyond biology, and extended to psychology, psychiatry, sociology, cybernetics , history and philosophy. Some of his admirers even believe that von Bertalanffy's general systems theory could provide a conceptual framework for all these disciplines.Thaddus E. Weckowicz (1989). Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1901-1972): A Pioneer of General Systems Theory. Working paper Feb 1989. p.2
The development of information research has increased considerably the interaction of emerging information science with other disciplines. Librarianship has traditionally had links with education and classification and has drawn ideas from logic and philosophy . But during the last fifty years new insights and methods have been derived from sociology and social psychology, from computer science, from operations research and related quantitative approaches, from communications research, from linguistics , and most recently from the new hybrids: cognitive science and artificial intelligence.B.C. Vickery ed. (1994) Fifty years of information progress. p. 7
A further turn is to be found in some "unmasking" accounts of natural science, which aim to show that its pretensions to deliver the truth are unfounded, because of social forces that control its activities. Unlike the case of history, these do not use truths of the same kind; they do not apply science to the criticism of science. They apply the social sciences, and typically depend on the remarkable assumption that the sociology of knowledge is in a better position to deliver truth about science than science is to deliver truth about the world.Bernard Williams, Truth and Truthfulness (2002)
Political science is governed by five myths: (1) that it studies politics ; (2) that it is scientific; (3) that it is possible to study politics separated off from economics , sociology , psychology and history ; (4) that the state in our democratic capitalist society is politically neutral, i.e. available as a set of institutions and mechanisms to whatever group wins the election ; and (5) that political science, as a discipline , advances the cause of democracy .Bertell Ollman, in What Is Political Science? What Should It Be?, New York University (NYU)
Biology is not physics , because organisms are such complex physical objects, and sociology is not biology because human societies are made by self-conscious organisms. By pretending to a kind of knowledge that it cannot achieve, social science can only engender the scorn of natural scientists and the cynicism of the humanists.Richard Lewontin (1995) "Sex, Lies, and Social Science" in New York Review of Books (4/20/95)
During the 1950s and 1960s most of the work which was called cybernetics tended to focus on control systems in engineering or on applications of the concept of feedback in fields ranging from mathematics to sociology. At the 1970 meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics in Philadelphia Heinz von Foerster sought to redirect attention to the original interests which had led to the founding of the field of cybernetics. In a paper titled "Cybernetics of Cybernetics" he made a distinction between first order cybernetics, the cybernetics of observed systems, and second order cybernetics, the cybernetics of observing systems.Stuart A. Umpleby (1991) "Strategies for Winning Acceptance of Second Order Cybernetics." In George E. Lasker, et al. (eds.) Advances in Human Systems and Information Technologies. Windsor, Canada: International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics, 1992. pp. 97-196. (paper)
Good sociology is sociological work that produces meaningful descriptions of organizations and events, valid explanations of how they come about and persist, and realistic proposals for their improvement or removal.Howard S. Becker (1972) "'Radical politics and sociological research"
Don't give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.Ray Bradbury (1953) Fahrenheit 451 p. 61
sociology is a new science concerning itself not with esoteric matters outside the comprehension of the layman, as the older sciences do, but with the ordinary affairs of ordinary people. This seems to engender in those who write about it a feeling that the lack of anyabstruseness in their subject matter demands a compensatoryabstruseness in their language. 365Sir Ernest Arthur Gowers
sociology is the science which has the most methods and the least results.Henri Poincaré (1908) Science and Method Part I. Ch. 1 : The Selection of Facts, p. 19
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