Dialectical Orientation and the Sociology of Religion

Dialectical Orientation and the Sociology of Religion Religious Change and Continuity clearer from our account. The second sense will be explored in close association with the concept of antinomianism. In the first sense, then, dialectic involves the idea of a system o r totality in which elements-say, A and B-that demand some kind of “satisfaction” are in tension and in which “excessive” movement toward either-toward A or toward B-will tend to generate movement toward the other. Thus, Diesing (1971) writes of a certain one-sidedness in the methodology of science that is illustrated by a definition of science exclusively in terms of rigor and precision. Diesing argues that science needs a certain amount of “vagueness” and “suggestiveness” as well as rigor and precision. He finds that actual scientific traditions show a balance of precision and vagueness but that different traditions apportion the two in different ways. “The various kinds of balance serve the conflicting scientific needs of creativity and control: Vagueness and suggestiveness facilitate creativity, and precision and rigor are means of control, either empirical or logical” (Diesing, 1971, p. 221). T h e outcome of an exaggerated stress on rigor and precision is likely to be “theoretical stagnation and empirical preoccupation with detail,” while an http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociological Inquiry Wiley

Dialectical Orientation and the Sociology of Religion

Sociological Inquiry, Volume 49 (2‐3) – Apr 1, 1979

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1979 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0038-0245
eISSN
1475-682X
DOI
10.1111/j.1475-682X.1979.tb00366.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Religious Change and Continuity clearer from our account. The second sense will be explored in close association with the concept of antinomianism. In the first sense, then, dialectic involves the idea of a system o r totality in which elements-say, A and B-that demand some kind of “satisfaction” are in tension and in which “excessive” movement toward either-toward A or toward B-will tend to generate movement toward the other. Thus, Diesing (1971) writes of a certain one-sidedness in the methodology of science that is illustrated by a definition of science exclusively in terms of rigor and precision. Diesing argues that science needs a certain amount of “vagueness” and “suggestiveness” as well as rigor and precision. He finds that actual scientific traditions show a balance of precision and vagueness but that different traditions apportion the two in different ways. “The various kinds of balance serve the conflicting scientific needs of creativity and control: Vagueness and suggestiveness facilitate creativity, and precision and rigor are means of control, either empirical or logical” (Diesing, 1971, p. 221). T h e outcome of an exaggerated stress on rigor and precision is likely to be “theoretical stagnation and empirical preoccupation with detail,” while an

Journal

Sociological InquiryWiley

Published: Apr 1, 1979

References

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