انجمن علمی جامعه‌شناسی دانشگاه تهران

محفل فکری دانشجویان جامعه‌شناسی دانشگاه تهران

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Rules for the Distinction of the Normal from the Pathological:

“Its devotees were certainly too rationalist to agree that human conduct did not require the guidance of reflective thought. Yet they saw in the phenomena, considered by themselves independently of any subjective data, nothing to justify their classifying them according to their practical value. It therefore seemed that the sole means of judging them was to relate them to some overriding concept. Hence · the use of notions to govern the collation of facts, rather than deriving notions from them, became indispensable for any rational sociology.” (Durkheim:1982,86)

“The common weakness in these definitions is the attempt to reach prematurely the essence of phenomena. Thus they assume that propositions have already been demonstrated which, whether true or .false, can only be proved when the progress of science is sufficiently advanced. This is nevertheless a case where we should conform to the rule already established. Instead of claiming to determine at the outset the relationship of the normal state, and the contrary state, to the vital forces, we should simply look for some immediately perceptible outward sign, but an objective one, to enable us to distinguish these two orders of facts from each other.” (Durkheim:1982,91)

“The only normal type extant at the time and grounded in the facts is one that relates to the past but \ no longer corresponds to the new conditions of existence. A fact can therefore persist through a whole species but no longer correspond to the requirements of the situation. It therefore has only the appearance of normality, and the generality it displays is deceptive; persisting only through the force of blind habit, it is no longer the sign that the phenomenon observed is closely linked to the general conditions of collective existence.” (Durkheim:1982,94-95)

Durkheim, Emile (1982) The Rules Of Sociological Method, freely translated by W. D. Hall

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Weber in his article of ” Objective Possibility and Adequate Causation in Historical Explanation” says:

What, then, is meant when we speak of a number of “possibilities” between which those contests are said to have “decided”? 

“It involves first the production of -let us say It calmly -“imaginative constructs” by the disregarding of one or more of those elements of “reality” which are actually present, and by the mental construction of a course of events which is altered through modification in one or more conditions.” Even the first step towards an historical Judgment is thus – this IS to be emphasized – a process of abstraction. This process proceeds through the analysis and mental isolation of the components of the directly given data – which are to be taken as a complex of possible causal relations – and should culminate in a synthesis of the “real” causal complex: Even this first step thus transforms the given “reality” into a “mental construct” in order to make It into an historical fact I In Goethe’s words, “theory” is involved in the “fact”.

If now one examines these “Judgments of possibility”- ie, the propositions regarding what “would” happen in the event of the exclusion or modification of certain conditions – somewhat more closely and inquires: how are we really to arrive at them – there can be no doubt that it is a matter of isolation and generalizations .This means that we so decompose the “given” into “components” that every one of them is fitted into an “empirical role” hence, that It can be determined what effect each of them, with others present as “conditions,” “could be expected” to have, in accordance with an empirical rule.” (Weber, 1949:173-174)

Weber, Max (1949) The Methodology of the Social Science, Freely translated by Edward A. Shils and Henry A. Finch

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