Essay on Philosophical Summaries

Submitted By taelortb
Words: 892
Pages: 4

Emile Durkheim- “What is a Social Fact”: Durkheim begins by stating that there are differences between “social facts” versus biology and psychology. Although all terms are commonly used quite loosely, there are major distinctions, which often parallel one another and cause discrepancies in understanding the true meanings. He then dives into explaining what defines the word “social” from a sociological standpoint; it comes from ways of acting, thinking, and feeling apart from an individual’s control and “endowed with the power of coercion.” After defining this term, he discusses how ways of existing are only crystallized ways of acting, which led to the overall argument of the article as a whole: essentially, a social fact is a way of acting that is exempt to external constraint or, on the other hand, fixed. A social fact is also every way of acting which is general throughout a given society, while existing in its own right, independent of its “individual manifestations.”

Otto Neurath- “The Scientific World Conception”: The article starts of by saying basic attitudes, its point of view, and its direction of research, rather than theses of its own characterize the scientific world conception. It aims to unify science by linking and harmonizing all the collective efforts from individual investigators and be grasped among all disciplines. Two key features characterize scientific world conception. First, it is empiricist and positivist, which imply that all knowledge that is gained is done so only from experience as that is what sets the limits for legitimate science. Secondly, it is marked by use of one specific research method- logical analysis. This is what sets recent empiricism apart from the earlier orientation which was primarily biological-sociological.

Carl G. Hempel- “Concept and Theory in Social Science:” The overall point of this article was discussing theoretical systems and the characteristics of these. Hempel states that ideal constructs have the same character as theoretical systems and the introduction of such a construct requires the specification of a set of characteristics and a set of hypotheses that connect these characteristics. He also asserts that furthering parameters and applying appropriate laws can improve most of the more well-formed and comprehensive theories. Another argument that Hempel makes is that there is no biological difference between natural and social sciences as they are similar in methods of classification, ordering, measurement, empirical correlation, and theory formation. He does, however, claim that social sciences are much more underdeveloped and lack adequate logical analysis to base their theories in order to form a solid basis for investigation.

Ernst Nagel- “Methodological Problems of the Social Sciences:” Nagel expresses many flaws in methods used in the social science fields. He says that much of social theory is social and moral philosophy rather than social science and is largely made up of general reflections. Additionally, the purpose of data in the social sciences is primarily to illustrate rather than actually critically test theories. Similar to Hempel, he claims “in no area of social inquiry has a body of general laws been established.” Nagel says that they produce an impression that they warrant schools of thought and that subject matter has undergone intensive study and scrutiny, when really this is all a part of the illustration opposed to actual facts such as the natural sciences use.

Karl Popper- “The Problem of Induction.” Popper begins this article by