Date of Award

9-1975

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

Supervisor

Berkeley Fleming

Language

English

Abstract

The thesis is basically an examination of the ideological character of sociology. The acceptance of the problem of order as the problem for sociology and of its concomitant metaphysic of externality and constraint both lead to and reflect an interest in control and domination. The positivistic conception of knowledge which tends to justify this problem and its metaphysic views knowledge as the mirroring of a machine-like world order. This view precludes, a priori, any conception of the possible role of human activity in the creation of history or in the activity of perception itself. Commensurate with this view is the divorce of ethical or value considerations from the acquisition of knowledge.

In this lies the ideological character of sociology and science. It attempts to argue that all conditions and events are "natural". The development of this mechanistic world-view was linked to concerns for expansion and domination. This view enabled the development of means for the control of nature and also made the claim that its tenets are metaphysically and politically neutral, thus denying its roots in an interest in domination. This view embodies the "logic of domination".

The inherent relation between knowledge and interest, revealed in this analysis, however, points to the possibility of a different conception of knowledge, taking into account the nature of human activity and cognition, which is related to an "emancipatory " interest. Sociological inquiry which does not embody the logic of domination is also possible.

McMaster University Library

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