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Sociology as a Science

One of the key debates in the study of sociological theory is whether sociology should be considered to be a science or not. The founding fathers of sociology, like Auguste Comte, and the original academic sociologists like Emile Durkheim, certainly saw their subject as scientific. These positivists believed that sociology could use scientific method to establish social facts and prove universal laws, exactly like the natural sciences. However, interpretivist sociologists argue that sociology is not a science and nor should it attempt to be, as humans have agency and will not simply conform to universal laws or predictable patterns and developments like natural phenomena. Whether sociology is a science or not partly depends on the nature of the research methods sociologists use but also on whether there is an agreed definition of what a science is as well.

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