The “false” debate between positivism and Verstehen in the origins of sociology

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Title: The “false” debate between positivism and Verstehen in the origins of sociology
Authors: Ullán de la Rosa, Francisco Javier
Research Group/s: Observatorio Sociológico de la Educación (OBSOEDU)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Sociología II
Keywords: Epistemology of the social sciences | Positivism | Verstehen | Hermeneutics | Modernity | Postmodernity
Knowledge Area: Sociología
Issue Date: 31-Jul-2017
Publisher: De Gruyter
Citation: Human Affairs. 2017, 27(3): 344-362. doi:10.1515/humaff-2017-0028
Abstract: The article revisits the debate between the positivists and non-positivists currents in sociology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, concluding that it is actually a false debate, due to the fact that, beyond their differences, both shared some of the basic principles of the paradigm of modernity. From this historical analysis the article seeks to draw lessons for the social sciences in the present, at a time when these seem to have reached a certain synthesis between the modern and postmodern epistemologies. The article shows us that such a synthesis was already prefigured in the writing of classical theorists as it is, in fact, an ineluctable structural law of science itself if it wants to escape from the trap of skepticism and epistemological nihilism. The article also explores how, as a consequence of the pervasiveness of the modern paradigm, a common ethnocentric bias can be traced in all the fathers of sociology and wonders whether sociology today has actually got rid of this problem.
ISSN: 1210-3055 (Print) | 1337-401X (Online)
DOI: 10.1515/humaff-2017-0028
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © Institute for Research in Social Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - OBSOEDU - Artículos de Revistas

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