New Way: Renaissance of Neokantian Tradition in Sociology of 21 Century

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Natalia NEMIROVA, Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia
The rise of a new social reality challenge sociologists on forming new sociological theories, developing research methods of social processes. Nowadays we are speaking not only about the common European crisis, but also about the common world economic, political, international, and social crises. The same social phenomena and processes were happening at the turn of the 19th – 20th centuries.

The main Neo-Kantian goal was reformation of sociological knowledge and a turnaround of the young science of sociology from a long-drawn methodological crisis.  The main branches of Neo-Kantian activity can be put as follows:

1. Methodology plays a specific informative, sense-making and purposeful role in sociological knowledge. Methodology itself explains the structure of knowledge and the ways of its acquisition. Sociology should form its own methodology which differs from the methodology of social philosophy or natural sciences.

2. Classification of scientific knowledge, position of sociology in this science typology. Search of a “sensible compromise” between cognitive methods and “reasonable synthesis” of nomothetic and ideographic approaches.

3. Definition of the key role of the purposeful actions of an individual and, as a result, development of teleological formations, separation of the principles of teleologism and causation in sociological and social knowledge. 

4. Operationalization of scientific notions.  Generation of new mechanisms of the formation of new theories and class notions.

5. Breakaway from subjectivism in sociology, formation of the objective evaluative judgments based on the principle of "attribution to value", while endueing it with greater psychological and moral load. In general, the leitmotif of the neo-Kantian work was the ideas of moral foundations of personality.

The ideas of neo-Kantianism are consonant to the development of a modern situation in society and sociological science.