On the way to eliminating theoretical difficulties of sociology of morality

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The article aims at presenting theoretical difficulties of sociology of morality and possible ways to overcome them. The importance of this issue is determined by the necessity of the scientific study of moral elements of the contemporary society in order to prevent its dehumanization. Sociology of morality focuses on the empirical study of various moral phenomena (justice, duty, conscience) in the social space. At the first stage of such a study, sociologists conduct observations and collect data, and at the second stage, they generalize moral facts to identify moral patterns. In sociology, morality is considered as an element of society; therefore, it is not analyzed by itself but within a system of social relations. One of the difficulties of such studies is the ambivalent nature of morality, i.e. its existence in both public and individual consciousness: if sociologists ignore the individual mode of morality, they misrepresent the content of moral facts. Another reason for theoretical difficulties in the study of morality is that sociologists use outdated ideas about the nature of moral truths and researcher’s impartiality - moral judgments are considered as not being true or false, and the researcher should ignore his value attitudes when collecting and analyzing data. The elimination of these difficulties can lead to the loss of the sociological research specifics and to the merger of sociology and moral philosophy. Representatives of the ‘new sociology of morality’ have to reform this field but ensure its status of an independent scientific discipline. One of the ways to solve this task is to use ideas of analytic philosophy, in particular, of moral realism that defines moral qualities as qualities of real things, and moral truths as having the same status as scientific truths.

About the authors

A. A. Sanzhenakov

Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: sanzhenakov@gmail.com
Nikolaeva St., 8, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia


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