Course Content
Survival of the Fittest
Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer
Moral Actions – Spencer
Types of Cooperation – Herbert Spencer
Critique of Communism and Socialism
Society as a Thing – Spencer and Realism
Comparative-Historical Method
Value Free Sociology of Spencer
Criticism of Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer
    About Lesson

    Difficulties Sociology Faces

    Spencer thought that sociology faced several challenges that set it apart from the natural sciences.

    The fundamental character of the data that sociologists must examine presents specific objective challenges. For instance, social phenomena cannot be seen directly. Unlike natural occurrences, they cannot be seen or quantified using tools like clocks, thermometers, scales, and microscopes.

    Spencer thinks that another methodological problem for sociologists is that they can’t use introspection as psychologists can. So introspection can’t be used to study social facts, but it can be used to learn psychological facts.

    Because events often occur across a large geographic region and over extended periods, it may take time to understand what is happening. Spencer, for instance, argued that the growing division of labor during the period was very hard to analyze and that it took a while before its growth was acknowledged.

    The unreliability of sociology’s data, which is drawn from historical and contemporary cultures, is another problem it faces objectively.

    Sociologists must depend on the accounts of such witnesses for their data, even though the subjective states of the witnesses often corrupt the data of the occurrences under investigation. However, despite his awareness of the enormous objective challenges, Spencer maintained that sociology could deal scientifically with broad classes of facts but not with individual facts.

    The fact that sociologists are the human witnesses of events that humans cause is a truth they must also face. Sociologists utilize forms of observation and reasoning in their everyday lives since they are people. These habits may need to be more helpful or might constitute obstacles to sociological research. In addition, they are likely to face challenges in their own culture, and when sociologists study other communities, those challenges are substantially exacerbated.

    Additionally, sociologists have a totally different connection to the facts they witness compared to natural scientists. Prejudices might hamper sociological research. Emotions may influence sociologists’ assessments of social phenomena or cause them to reach conclusions without enough data. Spencer struggled with various distinct emotional prejudices, including those impacted by social status, politics, and religion.

    Sociology Plus