Sociology as the Philosophy of the Future

In the beginning of sociology it was a philosophy for promoting the Good society. Sociology was what we in Feuerbach’s terms may call a “philosophy of the future”. The German enlightenment is crucial if one wants to go beyond: create an alternative to today’s sociology. Kant’s notion of experience bridges the abyss created by the empiricists and rationalists by placing knowledge in man. Sociology is very much a heritage of the French Enlightenment, Auguste Comte (1798-1857) and Emile Durkhein (1858-1917). They thought of themselves as positivists, i.e., as doing something “objective”. At the same time as heirs of the ideas of Enlightenment they wanted sociology to be used in order to improve society, to create a Good society. Comte had a view of this whole – society – in terms of Man. Lost in Durkheim is this idea of man developing in and through society, reflecting a change in the social context, in the development of the capitalist society. After the death of Durkheim in 1917 sociology holds a marginal position in the French society but then in the late 1940’s it rises again and in this new sociology American sociology was dominating, becoming an applied science. Today sociology continues this empiricist tradition. It is claimed that society has become something out-of-control.  Instead we should follow its French and German roots. Understanding society as a reflection of ourselves, of man is what we need in order to create a Good society for everyone, this also should be the first principle of sociology as the philosophy of the future.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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