Alternatives to Science

Alternatives to Science - Alternatives to Science The...

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Alternatives to Science The scientific method of understanding society is relatively new in the grand course of human history. It arose during the Enlightenment period in Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Before exploring scientific sociology, let's begin with a brief discussion of other sources of social knowledge about society. I do this for two reasons: In order to understand where we are, it is sometimes helpful to understand where we have come from and where we are going (with the lectures to follow). That is why we study history! Further, a good way to determine the worth (or lack of worth) of anything social is within a comparative context that offers alternatives. A. Authority Often, we get our knowledge from significant others like parents, teachers, books, or political leaders. When one accepts something as true because someone in authority says it is true, then they are relying on authority. It is a quick, simple, and inexpensive way to gain information (Neuman, 1994:2-3). The problem associated with relying on authorities is that overestimating the expertise of someone or some publication is possible. An expert in one area might . .. 1. try to use his or her expertise in an area where the authority has little if any knowledge. Neuman (1994:3) reminds us that "experts" used to measure intelligence by counting the number of bumps on the skull . 2. An over reliance on authority may also produce problems in a democratic society . Allowing authorities to wield too much authority can be dangerous! Over reliance on authority might lead to dictatorship. B. Tradition
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Alternatives to Science - Alternatives to Science The...

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