Theories, theory and Theory

  • Raymond Boudon


The notion of “theory” probably has a more uncertain meaning in the social sciences and sociology in particular than in other disciplines. As far back as the early 1950s, in a passage in Social Theory and Social Structure, R. K. Merton2 pointed out that the word theory was being used by sociologists in seven different ways, only one of which was admissable. These were (1) Methodology; (2) General orientations; (3) Analysis of concepts; (4) Post factum sociological interpretations; (5) Empirical generalisations; (6) Theory; (7) Derivations and Codification.


Suicide Rate Subjective Probability Strict Sense Post Factum Modus Tollens 


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1980

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  • Raymond Boudon

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