Sociological critique and the philosophy of practice

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 1985
Thesis identifier
  • T5061
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • A vicious circle obtains: the philosophy of science cannot or will not concede the scientificity of sociology nor consequently provide it with a sound methodological foundation; while sociology in its search for theoretical validation constantly undermines the presuppositions of the philosophy of science. This kind of general discursive background constitutes the pretext for this thesis which, on one level, documents the changing historical structure of this fundamentally unstable relationship between the possibility of social science and the possibility of social criticism. More than this, however, sociology, in the context of the present investigations, means not social science which gravitates towards naturalistic anthropological modes of conceptualization of social conditions, but social criticism. Sociology is construed as an off-shoot of the philosophy of practice and is discovered in the notion of critique that designates an attempt to comprehend moral, economic and cultural forms as practical and historical configurations. What follows, in other words, is a prolonged meditation on the implications of a definition of sociology as critique. At various locations, the question is put: What are the grounds of possibility of social criticism as it has been realized by such as Marx, Lukacs, Gramsci, Marcuse, Williams, Foucault and others? Ultimately, sociology as critique is found to consist in opposition to transcendentalist logic: authoritarianism in theory and practice. Logically, critique, itself, has to be defined in its negativism: in its indefatigable commitment to grasp transcendentalist logic, via various hermeneutic strategies, as ideology; which means both as theoretical mystification and beyond that, phenomenologically, or in substantive terms, as systematic deception and containment.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 1985
Former identifier
  • 13477