Efforts at Theoretical Synthesis in Biological and Sociological Thoughts

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The paper compares the way in which efforts at theoretical synthesis arise in sociological and biological thoughts and the outcomes of such efforts in each case. First it must be said that whereas attempts in biology are confined to particular areas (for example: evolutionary biology), in sociology one can find efforts intending to cover all the field (such as the attempts by Parsons,Giddens and Bourdieu). Secondly, whereas efforts at theoretical synthesis are rare in biology, they are easily multiplied in sociology.I focus on the paradigmatic case of the so-called "modern synthesis", in biology, so as to show that there is nothing of the kind in sociology, since only in biology common agendas of investigation have been established. I describe how these agendas were established and argue that if projects for synthesis in sociology, however sophisticated they may be, never reaches a paradigmatic status it is basically because they have not been responsive to any common theoretical challenge of a specific character, such as occurs in biology.


Keywords: theoretical Synthesis, Evolutionary Biology, Modern Synthesis
Stream: Knowledge
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Emergence of a New Theoretical Synthesis in Biological Thought, The


Dr. Renan Springer de Freitas

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Antropology, Federal University of Minas Gerais
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I am an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. I became a Doctor in Sociology in 1989. Outside Brazil, I have published in the journals: Social Science Information, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, and The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. My previous areas of interest were sociology of knowledge, sociology of science and the relationships between them both and evolutionary epistemology. I published a book on this subject in Brazil and I lectured on this same subject in Duke University, as a Visiting Professor, in 2007. I have recently focused on the relationship between sociology of religion and theology. I am particularly interested in the study of the relationships between Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity.

Ref: H08P0280