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SOC*4450 - previous seminars


Goals: The main goal of this course is to illustrate Pragmatic or Semiotic Sociology. A secondary goal is to help you to improve your presentation and writing skills. Do not sign up for this seminar if you do not want to discuss abstract ideas and if you are not capable of receiving constructive criticism from other students and the Professor. The metatheory that will be followed is Charles Sanders Peirce’s semiotic triadic epistemology. The label often used in philosophy is “Pragmatism” but Peirce also discusses “Pragmaticism.” We will also examine general semiotics through the study of Atext semiotics@ and the exegesis of Atexts@ using Pragmatic hermeneutic rules. For example, there will be lectures on Ferdinand de Saussure’s approach to semiotics (semiologie). Text semiotics and hermeneutics are more or less the same qualitative approach to the interpretation of “texts.” General hermeneutics is the discovery by F. Schleiermacher and many others that the hermeneutic exegesis of a sacred text is essentially no different from the exegesis of a secular (Apagan@) text. The term ”text” is used in general semiotics and hermeneutics to refer to not only a book but also to any human representation or system of signs. Hence, almost anything can be a text, including such things as comic strips (e.g. Doonesbury) or sitcoms (e.g. ASeinfeld@) or Areality TV= (e.g. ASurvivor@). Anything that is human is a kind of text. That which is not human has no text unless human beings are involved in makin interpretations of representations (e.g. biology, astronomy).You can regard this course as an attempt to integrate sociological theory and methodology along the lines of one theoretical research approach. The approach is meant to be a MetaParadigm compatible with such Paradigms and Research Paradigms as Symbolic Interactionism, Phenomenological Sociology, Existential Sociology, Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis and other Qualitative Methods which are based on ASocial Constructionist@ or ASocial Definitionalist@ Research Paradigms. We will also deal with the important general Methodological problem of the notion of a Peircian epistemology replacing the CartesianNewtonian Amodern@ epistemology. Bakker’s INSOR model is a simplified version of the Peircian approach.

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