Quiz #4: Weber and Durkheim  Answers

Part I: Circle T or F depending on whether the sentence that follows is true or false (72 points, 6 points each).

F         1.     Weber argues that the social sciences are normative sciences devoted to establishing normative conclusions.
values help set the questions, but the inquiries concern matters of fact

F         2.     Weber maintains that the goal of the social sciences is to generate general laws of society.
Weber wants to focus on particulars, not laws.

F         3.     The reason why Weber calls ideal types "ideal" is that they express moral ideals.
they are simplified and hypothetical, but they can capture things that we think of as good, bad or indifferent.

F         4.     Weber maintains that ideal types are expressions of laws.
they are individual, not lawlike; concepts not claims

T        5.     Weber maintains that ideal types can help to describe societies.

F         6.     According to Weber, social scientists need to adopt the vocabulary that will enable them most successfully to generate social laws.
the vocabulary is set by our interests and values

T        7.     Durkheim argues that social facts cannot be reduced to facts about individual psychology.

F         8.     Durkheim maintains that an enormous multiciplicity of very different specific factors explain why each particular individual commits suicide.
he insists that the cause lies in some common social fact(s), not in idiosyncracies

T        9.     Durkheim agrees with Marx that facts about individual psychology are not the causes of social phenomena.

F         10.     Durkheim believes that social phenomena can exist without any individual people existing.
there are limits even to Durkheim's holism!

T        11.     Durkheim believes that "collective tendencies" are as real as the gravitational pull that the moon exerts on the earth. 

T        12. Durkheim believes that social facts exert a coercive power over individuals.

Part II (28 points) Write a brief essay on the back discussing what you take to be Weber's and Durkheim's views of Marx's historical materialism (that is, his view that developments in the forces and in consequences relations of production drive history).

central elements:

Marx: relations of production depend on forces of production and relations of production are the central social facts explain the superstructure. Historical change occurs when changes in forces of production demand changes in relations of production which in turn demand changes in class relations and superstructure.

Weber: suspicious of general laws and denies that relations of production are this dominant.

Durkheim: agrees with Marx in emphasizing social facts, but denies centrality of social facts concerning relations of production. Emphasizes religion instead, but denies that any single set of social facts is always dominant.