Sociology Faces Pessimism: A Study of European Sociological by Robert Benjamin Bailey

By Robert Benjamin Bailey

My preliminary curiosity in sociology stemmed from the will to determine particular social switch in definite parts of my local country. My relatively naive assumption at the moment was once that if in actual fact identified approximately social phenomena and offered to rational and trained individuals, public opinion will result in the fascinating social swap. that's, i presumed a few computerized linkage among fact, rationality and social development. definitely a number of the so-called "pioneers" of sociology additionally assumed this automated linkage. hence, the chance to review in Europe, at the soil of a few of those "pioneers" heightened my curiosity and wish to examine extra concerning the courting among sociology and social development. After residing and learning numerous years in quite a few components of Western Europe - England, Germany, France, Holland - one unearths that eu sociology has remained very heavily associ­ ated with social philosophy and background, has usually been resisted by means of the schools, and isn't as empirical as American sociology. the ecu sociologist, nonetheless relatively aware of the error of the early fathers - Comte, Spencer, Marx, between others - is very wary pertaining to difficulties of social development and social motion. he's conscious that his technology continues to be younger and sus­ pect. he's additionally much less convinced than his predecessors in regards to the specific function of sociology.

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Extra info for Sociology Faces Pessimism: A Study of European Sociological Thought Amidst a Fading Optimism

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An aspect of this trend is the belief that ideas move men when presented, not as scientific truths, but as wish-fulfilling myths. Benito Mussolini as an exponent of this thinking said: "Humanity needs a credo. It is faith that moves mountains because it gives the illusion that mountains move. " 1 Scientific truths may be harmful then is the implication here in that they explain away the myths which are so vital to life. Thus, the value of science, and of sociology, may be negative. This kind of thinking is obviously opposed to the assumption of the early sociologists that scientific truth and rationality are importants factors of social welfare and progress.

1m hellen Lichte der Buehne stehen die zwei Choere, der Chor der Preisenden und Hoffnungsvollen und der Chor der Klagenden und Verdammenden ... Ihre Stimmen verschlingen sich; sie verhoehnen einander; sie streiten mit einander. " 2 And thus when we speak of the rise of pessimism we may just as easily speak of a fading optimism. The terms are not used here in an absolute sense but always in the sense of a continuum. The following modern pessimistic trends are very much related to the development of sociology: 1.

A. Liebeault (published 1866) of the Nancy school of psychiatry said that under the proper conditions all people could be hypnotized. Hypnosis, he believed, was the acting out of an idea that had been planted in the individual mind with rapport and was identical with suggestion. H. Bernheim (1884) also of the Nancy school claimed that suggestion is an essentially normal process, and that hypnosis is only an extreme form of what goes on in the waking state. Boris Sidis, an American (1867-1923) also disagreed with his teacher Charcot who thought of hypnotism as having nothing in common with normal suggestion.

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