Essays In Sociology Of Knowledge
The fact that sociology deals with the social universe distinguishes it from astronomy, physics, chemistry, zoology, mathematics and other physical sciences. Sociology is a categorical and not a normative discipline.
Sociology “confines itself to statements about what is not what should be or ought to be”.
The present volume contains six essays written by Karl Mannheim during the early part of his academic career in Germany.
These papers have not been available in English thus far; they have remained scattered in various German publications.
I shall try to show that his purpose was not to demonstrate the inescapability of relativism and scepticism, but rather the thesis that in spite of the inescapability of certain relativist conclusions, genuine knowledge of historical and social phenomena was possible.
According to him, participation in the social process, which renders one's perspective partial and biased, also enables one to discover truth of deep human import.
The main aim of pure sciences is the acquisition of knowledge and it is not bothered whether the acquired knowledge is useful or can be put to use.
As science, sociology is necessarily silent about questions of value. Its approach is neither moral nor immoral but amoral. It cannot decide the directions in which sociology ought to go.
It makes no recommendations on matters of social policy or legislation or programme.
On the other hand, the aim of applied science is to apply the acquired knowledge into life and to put it to use. For example, physics is a pure science and engineering is its applied field.
Similarly the pure sciences such as economics, political science, history etc.