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Can Sociology Be Value Free Value neutrality is a term used by Weber to indicate the necessary objectivity researchers need when investigating problems in the social sciences Weber also cautioned against the making of value judgements which coincide with the orientation or motives of the researcher It is important to note that although Weber believed that value neutrality was the aim of research his view was that no science is fundamentally neutral and its observational language is never independent of the way individuals see phenomena and the questions they ask about them Morrison 1995 pp267 347 It is this link between the researchers theoretical stand and the methods adopted that raises the question as to whether sociology can be value free What are the arguments for and against the possibility of value free sociology Is the answer to be found in the design of research methods Or is all knowledge a cultural product in that what a society defines as knowledge reflects the values of that society therefore making value free science the aim but not the achievable goal of sociology Indeed is the concept of value free sociology of value itself raising the notion of there being merit in a value plus sociology This concept of value free sociology has its roots in the rise of positivism and the scientific method in the mid nineteenth century Positivists believed that discovering laws of social development would create a better society A key figure in the establishing of sociology as a respectable science was Comte 1798-1857 Comte looked at human progress and decided that there are three stages to the evolutionary growth of knowledge Each of our leading conceptions each branch of our knowledge passes successively through three different theoretical conditions the Theological or fictitious the Metaphysical or abstract and the Scientific or positiveIn the final the positive state the mindapplies itself to the study of their laws - that is their invariable relations of
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