The role of norms in American Catholic sociological writing
Wert, Newell John
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The problem of this dissertation is to investigate the role of norms in the sociological writing of Roman Catholics in America as a case study in the general problem of ethics and the social sciences. The investigation attempts to understand the position of Catholic sociologists, criticize it, and from it draw implications for establishing a frame of reference for a coherent approach to the study of human society and its processes, which combines the empirical and the normative. The dissertation assumes that universally valid norms can be progressively known through a coherent approach to human experience. The problems of a science of man point repeatedly to the need and possibility of such an assumption. Three perspectives on norms are established, which provide the framework for the study: value-judgments about the subject matter of sociology, values as social facts to be studied, and the formal relationship between sociology and ethics. After setting forth these perspectives in a brief analysis of contemporary sociology, the Catholic development of sociology and the major issues involved in this development are analyzed. The implications of Catholic sociological work for the problem of the dissertation are set forth. The conclusion suggests an emerging point of view for a closer relationship between sociology and ethics. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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