Passeron and the reasoning historical Social Sciences

The Sociological Reasoning of Jean-Claude Passeron is also another defense of the necessity of thinking about social analysis as a historical analysis. Written in part as a polemic with the Popper of the Poverty of Historicism, poses as one of its fundamental tenets the absence of a science nomotética, and that it is necessary to break the powerful influence of these ideas, and try to think of to là Popper for the social sciences (which was the explicit purpose of the original edition in French of 1991, as noted in the 2006 edition).

It is curious, in this respect, and represents quite well the common lack of listening to many disquisitions on methodology that many of the criticisms that performs Passeron are things that the same Popper says. When Passeron says that sociology -which is understood as a historical science – you can’t accumulate or that there will always be various paradigms, it is exactly what it says Popper on the story: you can Always analyze using a point of view, but they are necessarily multiple. Popper, as we recall, does not deny the historical explanation in The Poverty of Historicism, what that does is deny the existence of a logic of necessary movements of history, it denies the philosophy of history -a denial that Passeron is not critical. The difference between the two says a relationship is not with the historical explanation and its characteristics but with the possibility of statements, universal,

In Passeron the impossibility of claims nomotéticas is not reduced to impossibility of statements valid for this type, but also in terms of the language used to describe: ‘there is Not and there cannot exist a language protocol unified description of the historical world’ (p 482). To be able to be interpreted, to be able to acquire relevant empirical statements are formalized must necessarily be translated into a natural language (which is, therefore, a language anchored in a particular history). The pure statistical language may not be used to produce an explanation of the social world. And this because ‘the sociological reasoning is always to function to ask ourselves about the social conditions of constitution of the populations apparently more natural’ (p 218). You can use the statistics, but to do so requires thinking about it reflectively. And it involves a historic building.

Ultimately, the sociological reasoning in Passeron is a product of the game in two areas, and in each of them the reasoning of the social science operates by weakening: On the pole of the reasoning experimental, with the statistical reasoning as their strongest form, the sociology operates by weakening the demonstration and passing more to play in the comparison. In the pole of the historical narrative, the sociology does not operate with the story of ‘historicist’, but try it-but it weakens the logic of the story – to make a synthesis (that is, closer to the comparison). What you try to do sociology is to ‘articulate general and specific conditional’ (p 170), and therefore being neither in the story in all its concretitud narrative nor in the abstraction of the pure theory.

It is an interesting argument but, I think, I am not be convincing, because the opposition is not. The pole of history ‘historicism’ is represented by the name of Thucydides and The Peloponnesian War. But no reader of Thucydides, as any reader of other authors in the way that Thucydides opens, you can forget that the text is full of explanations, and explanations that are not offered as ‘general and specific conditional’, but many times as a universal. When Thucydides, for example, analyses the relationships between the polis assumes the existence of general rules (about how to behave by those who have power or the effects of living in polis, democratic or oligarchic), and in fact assume that those beliefs are the actors. Polybius, the count narratively the story of how Rome acquired the mastery of the mediterranean world, also assumes general rules (by explaining why the legion is superior to the phalanx, or because, in the famous Book VI, because the structure of the Roman Republic, in part, explains their domain), use the same type of reasoning. The same can be said of Tacitus. The procedure was imitated for a long time. Hume in his History of England , or Gibbon in his Decline and Fall in the EIGHTEENTH century do the same operation to narrate using general explanations as part of the narrative structure}.

In other words, the highest representatives of the story of ‘historicist’ is never confined to the story, but applied a reasoning nomotético. The ‘laws’ that they pose may not currently the suscribamos, but are an essential part of the structure of their works. It is precisely because they believe in the existence of stable rules is that they may believe that it may be useful to the reading of his works for the practitioner of politics. Given that her immediate interest was in the narrative of acts, these laws are exposed, and mentioned in passing, and do not structure their works, but clearly they are required by their arguments. And, let us not forget, that is precisely the way in which the same Popper posed the story uses universal laws

In Passeron reasoning universal and the story particular, must be transformed, weakened, to produce the space of the comparisons that constitutes sociology; but in reality they are fully integrated into those who devoted themselves more clearly to the pure narration.

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