. Philosopher-theologian Bernard J. F. Lonergan defines emergence as the process in which âotherwise coincidental manifolds of lower conjugate acts invite the higher integration effected by higher conjugate formsâ (Insight,  1992, 477). The meaning and implications of Lonergan’s concept of emergence are considered in the context of the problem of reductionism in the natural sciences. Examples are taken primarily from physics, chemistry, and biology.
The sociology of knowledge can most generally be defined as the discipline devoted to the social origins of thought. It is an analysis concerned with specifying the existential basis of thought, and with establishing the relationship obtained between mental structures or thought, and that existential basis. Some very interesting and difficult problems arise from this conception of the sociology of knowledge. Perhaps the most obvious of these is whether or not a sociology of knowledge, as here conceived, is theoretically possible. (...) This is a problem I do not intend to deal with at present because limitations of time prevent me from doing even partial justice to it. (shrink)
My paper will explore boundaries and rights, the public and the private, as to the enforcement of religious legal rules in societies self-consciously founded on Islamic law. I employ as my case-study legal and social controversies aroused by the Saudi Hay’at al-amr bi-al-ma`ruf wa-al-nahy `an al-munkar, the government agency charged with “ordering the good and forbidding the evil.” The paper will first lay out some of the laws fixing the powers of the Hay’at, including various statutes issued by the king (...) but, of equal or greater importance, the received medieval fiqh rules governing the muhtasib . Focus shall be on an issue much debated in the classical law and also a long-time bone of contention in Saudi society, namely the legal limits on the powers of the Hay’at to investigate and punish immoral acts occurring in private. Limits on such powers stem from two sources, both in the law and in social understandings of that law. One source, the more prominent in public debate, concerns revelatory and fiqh and related social norms against spying or prying into people’s behavior and against undue attempts to expose people’s sins. Notably, however, this restriction affects only enforcement. The pervasiveness of laws considered to arise from the relationship of the individual to God still stands. A solitary immoral act performed in privacy can still be a sin and a crime, and punishable if it is somehow legitimately known and proved . The second source of restrictions is more far-reaching, going beyond issues of investigation and proof. As held by the majority of scholars, the Hay’at may not compel or forbid any actions for which the religious-legal ruling is under classical law a matter of legitimate difference of scholarly opinion; or inversely, the Hay’at may compel or forbid only those actions as to which there is a divine command known to a certainty either from a revealed text or from the consensus of scholars. A commonly noted abuse by the Hay’at in Saudi Arabia has been to attempt to enforce rules lacking requisite certainty, such as requiring veiling of the face. Rules known to a certainty have a pervasive role in Islamic constitutional theory. In principle, such rules must be enforced, regardless of whether they concern matters other societies may consider individual or private, such as changing one’s religion. Rules lacking that high degree of certainty cannot – without separate justification on grounds other than religious text – define sins or crimes or be enforced as general rules by the state. Though seemingly scholastic and philosophical, this restriction is potentially crucial in defining a realm of individual autonomy in religious matters and shaping the boundary between public and private in societies self-consciously founded in Islamic law. It is important to examine to what extent the restriction is reflected in legal and social practice in such societies. (shrink)
A common finding is that information order influences belief revision (e.g., Hogarth & Einhorn, 1992). We tested personal experience as a possible mitigator. In three experiments participants experienced the probabilistic relationship between pieces of information and object category through a series of trials where they assigned objects (planes) into one of two possible categories (hostile or commercial), given two sequentially presented pieces of probabilistic information (route and ID), and then they had to indicate their belief about the object category before (...) feedback. The results generally confirm the predictions from the Hogarth and Einhorn model. Participants showed a recency effect in their belief revision. Extending previous model evaluations the results indicate that the model predictions also hold for classification decisions, and for pieces of information that vary in their diagnostic values. Personal experience does not appear to prevent order effects in classification decisions based on sequentially presented pieces of information and in belief revision. (shrink)
This study is an attempt partially to describe the sociological foundations of modern science. When the question is put, under what social circumstances did the idea of science develop, one sees that there is here an inadequately explored sociological area. Perhaps a definition and a contrast will make this clearer. By the idea of science is meant simply the proposition that the valid source of human knowledge is to be found in the analysis of experience. But knowledge in this sense (...) was not a problem in the medieval period. In the first place, it was then taken for granted that the universe was intelligible to man on the basis of divinely revealed principles. Secondly, man constituted the center of the universe, which in its entirety was thought to be subordinate to man's destiny. Thirdly, not only was the universe which existed for man then known by him, but it was endowed with human qualities. The categories of interpretation were substance, essence, form, matter, quality, and purpose. The reason why rain fell upon the earth was to grow crops; the purpose of the moon and the stars was to light the earth at night, and to act as guideposts for him on his travels. Bodies tended to their proper places, light ones upward, heavy ones earthward. Quantitative differences were inferred from these qualitative ones. It is well-known, for example, how tenaciously was the knowledge held, that heavier objects fall more quickly than lighter ones. And finally, the universe was religious. If the world existed for the benefit of man, man existed for the glory of God. Human sojourn upon the earth was merely preparation for permanent residence in eternity. (shrink)
1. Introduction. Cultural relativity is one of the most important conceptions to which anthropology and sociology have devoted much attention in recent years. It is a theory of human conduct based upon observational studies of different cultures and different societies. Many of the leaders in the various social sciences are currently among the advocates of this viewpoint. The burden of these pages, however, is that cultural relativity is flying under false colors: it claims to be empirical but is illogical; it (...) claims to be objective but is surreptitiously moral; it claims to be reasonable but elevates irrationalism; it claims to be scientific but prevents the development of an experimental science of sociocultural conduct. These are serious charges to lodge against leading social scientists; to detail them all would require much more space than is here available. Therefore this paper will be devoted to an incomplete exposition of only two points, namely, that cultural relativity is surreptitiously moral, and, that it deprives man of rational grounds for decision in certain crucial areas. To put the matter bluntly, the advocates of cultural relativity, while they allege themselves to be scientifically amoral, sneak in through the back door a peculiarly crude form of ethnocentric morality which is clearly contrary to the observable facts of human behavior; and, while presenting a presumably scientific analysis of human conduct, leave us only with personal taste as the basis for making certain important decisions.2. Cultural Relativity Defined. Cultural relativity, briefly stated, asserts that any set of customs and institutions, or way of life, is as valid as any other. It may be well to let some representative cultural relativists speak for themselves at this point, in order to show that the summary statement of their position, just given, is correct. The author of an excellent and widely adopted textbook in cultural anthropology stresses the dignity inherent in every body of custom, and abjures us to be tolerant of the ways of other people:… cultural relativism is a philosophy which … lays stress on the dignity inherent in every body of custom, and on the need for tolerance of conventions though they may differ from one's own … the relativistic point of view brings into relief the validity of every set of norms for those people whose lives are guided by them, and the values these represent. … The very core of cultural relativism is the social discipline that comes of respect for differences—of mutual respect. Emphasis on the worth of many ways of life, not one, is an affirmation of the values of each culture. Such emphasis seeks to understand and to harmonize goals, not to judge and destroy those that do not dovetail with our own,. (shrink)
1. Introduction. The purpose of this paper is to present an initial sociological analysis of science as an institution. This kind of analysis has long been made of other aspects of culture: of the family, the state, religion, economic enterprise and the like. An institution, as the term is used here, is simply… a definite and established phase of the public mind … often seeming, on account of its permanence and the visible customs and symbols in which it is clothed, (...) to have a somewhat distinct and independent existence. (shrink)
The period between the Peace of Utrecht and the French Revolution is brought into focus in this essay. Professor Manuel deals with the age of the philosophes and the enlightened despots, when belief in man's ability to achieve a good society through reason was in its first hopeful flower. The powerful pressures of that time are evaluated - the rapidly increasing population, the phenomenal growth of cities and industries, the greater facility of travel and transportation, The modern nation-state, as exemplified (...) in France, England, the Hapsburg Empire, Prussia, and Russia, was growing strong and centralized. The relations of these states to one another are discussed. (shrink)
As presented by some, operationalism in sociology is Kantian in its view of the universe, of the assumptions and limitations of science, and of the scientist's ability to analyse and present the reality of the universe.In his exposition, George A. Lundberg rests operationalism upon a twofold basis. First there is a materially-conceived nature. This is expressed in the terms “X,” “the cosmos,” or “that which arouses certain responses.” We do not know, cannot know, nor can science tell us, anything about (...) the nature of this X, save that it precipitates responses. This position is qualified by making existence always relative to some responding organism. There is nothing final in the terms “existence” or “reality,” such as is usually implied in the terms “truth” and “fact.” An objective reality existing entirely independently of anyone's observations is believed by Lundberg to be incompatible with his philosophical basis. The only justification for this position is “… its demonstrable efficiency in helping us comprehend our world.”. (shrink)
The extent to which Pavlovian feed-forward mechanisms operate in primates is debatable. Monkeys and apes are long-lived, usually gregarious, and intelligent animals reliant on learned behavior. Learning occurs during play, mother-infant interactions, and grooming. We address these situations, and are hesitant to accept Domjan et al.'s reliance on Pavlovian conditioning as a major operant in primates.
A major problem of the philosophy of science is the construction of a comprehensive science of man and the universe. The sociology of science has a part to play in this tremendous task by indicating the extra-scientific influences bearing upon science at any given period, assisting, in this way, in developing a self-consciousness of science. It is believed that this self-consciousness is necessary to a scientific appraisal of the method of scientific inquiry, as well as being necessary to any attempt (...) to direct the development of science as an institution. This paper is to be regarded as a sociological evaluation of a work in the field of the philosophy of science, namely, F. S. C. Northrop's The Meeting of East and West. (shrink)
The historical development of a field of human knowledge progresses like the solution of a jig-saw puzzle, the full extent of which is completely unknown. What begins as an ocean may become only a lake; what starts as a grove of trees may develop into a forest. As study advances through the decades, the situation is repeatedly surveyed and the interpretation of the whole is modified to accord with the added information. For these reasons, conceptions and generalizations periodically undergo alteration, (...) as effectively stated and discussed by Cooper. Universal conformity in such conceptions is of course hardly to be expected in matters that deal largely with speculation rather than with simple experimental data. (shrink)
What I am going to say here may be thought by some to be more appropriate to science as a whole, rather than “what sociology has to offer to the physical sciences.” The main point of my remarks has to do with objectivity and values in science. Great masses of people are today in doubt as to whether science is a friend or an enemy of theirs. They do not see it as a means to continued material progress, as objectively (...) measured in such things as the level of living, and morbidity and death rates. To them it is, for example, a means for spreading mass misery through depressions due to technological unemployment. Or, it is the means for the production of ever more destructive weapons in continually more destructive wars. (shrink)