The Scientific Frame of This Story

  • Angelo FusariEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Sociology book series (BRIEFSSOCY)


Social studies cannot abstract from reality, as do mathematics and the logical-formal sciences, for the investigation of reality is precisely their object; yet nor can they adhere strictly to reality, as does the observation-verification method. Put another way, while too great abstraction passes over the object of the social sciences, the ever intensifying rate of social change precludes employment of an observation-verification method based upon the repetitiveness (or, in biology, the quasi repetitiveness) of events. Social reality is the product of the organizational action of man and his inventiveness, yet it is also deeply rooted in the basic content of situation. It follows that the method appropriate to the analysis of social reality must combine the observational and organizational views, thereby encompassing the realms of both being and doing. Moreover, that method must be able to distinguish organizational necessities from choice-possibility and creativeness. This distinction is indispensable if we are to hope to discern the different currents and contributory streams within the flow of social change and capture basic and long-lasting aspects of social systems. In this chapter we identify those basic elements fostering duration and those initiating the propulsive forces of social systems. These elements are denominated, respectively, functional imperatives and ontological imperatives. We also underline the role of long-lasting choices in the history of civilizations. This allows us to make two steps. Firstly, to show how functional imperatives change over long periods, with their nature at any particular moment indicative of a particular historical age. Secondly, to delineate a theory of social and historic processes founded on the operation and interaction of functional imperatives, ontological imperatives and civilizations. Our methodological discussion encompasses also ethical values. These results are in stark contrast to the ethical relativism that contemporary analyses are obliged to embrace due to the innate incapacity of observation verification method to allow a scientific treatment of values. Our methodological approach also takes note of the nature of forms of power and other organizational aspects of social systems.


Galileian dispute Social change Observational and organizational views Organizational necessities Choice-possibility Creativeness Functional imperatives and historical ages Ontological imperatives civilizations Deep confusion on ethics 


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RomeItaly

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