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MidtermEssayExam - Sociology 482 Midterm Essay Exam...

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Sociology 482 Midterm Essay Exam Questions 1, 3, 4 February 20, 2012 Professor Flint
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EXAM I SPRING 2012 1. The Enlightenment was a critical reaction against traditional authority. It called for the need of permanent freedom and elimination of structure. The theorists of this era believed in finding truth and reason of everything through natural -laws. There were many questions that came out of the Enlightenment, and sociologists wanted answers. The Enlightenment provided cynicism and skepticism in the traditional ways in which society worked. The traditional values and institutions were believed to be irrational and contradictory to natural growth and progress. The Enlightenment thinkers believed that the only way to rebuild the social world was through positive knowledge of nature, which would improve society through truth. The Counter- Enlightenment thinkers believed that the different institutions were critical in our society and were the only way in which humans could maintain stability. I believe the assumption that counter-enlightenment thought supports the modern foundations of sociology is correct. Many people in contemporary society associate sociology with liberalism. This association is relevant in some cases but not all. Sociology is liberal in the way that we have the freedom to think whichever way we would like. Sociology is the study of finding the “truth.” We learn how to find truth through knowledge and reason, which then helps us create values. However, many people in our society cannot even comprehend how much structure we have in the world today. Every action, every thought, every idea we have is solely based on tradition. Ashley and Orenstein explain in “Sociological Theory,” that individuals are encouraged to believe that they have complete freedom to create meaning in the universe, but Weber pointed out that this complete freedom would ultimately lead to the destruction of
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meaning (10). If we literally encompassed “complete freedom,” our society would not provide any substance. Tradition and stability are needed to provide a base for our society, which supports the conservative reaction of the counter-enlightenment perspective; then new knowledge can be found once this base is set into place. Yes, change creates progress, and I do believe we need change; but disorganization and elimination of the central institutions would only lead to ambiguity and insignificance for change or progress. A major value of the Western culture that we share openly to the rest of the world is our
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MidtermEssayExam - Sociology 482 Midterm Essay Exam...

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