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Sociology

Sociology is usually defined in terms of the scientific or systematic study of society, two notions that postmodern – and just serious – thinkers today openly question. In fact, a recent check at Wikipedia reveals that the word “academic” has … Continue reading


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Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) – “To be insulted by these fascists, it’s so degrading…”

Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) was an American sociologist who emphasized the functional role of social stratification, as well as a positive relationship between education and politics. His work clearly rejects communism and fascist totalitarianism. In fact, he was impressed by Max … Continue reading


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Panentheism – The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Panentheism is a religious studies term coined in 1828 by the German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781–1832). Today, it belongs within the umbrella term, pantheism. However, Krause’s concept is more specific. Panentheism refers to the belief in an eternal … Continue reading


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Willard Quine – My unapologetic simplification

Willard Quine (1908-2000) was an influential American mathematician and philosopher who rejected Kant’s analytic-synthetic distinction¹ and advocated a form of holism. Quine argues that empiricism contains “two dogmas.” One dogma is the distinction made between intellectual constructs and facts. The … Continue reading


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Reification – Are things always as they seem?

Reification is a sociological, philosophical and literary concept concerning language and symbolization.¹ For Marxist, Weberian and postmodern sociologists, reification also involves social power. It occurs whenever ideas, concepts or theories are falsely assumed to accurately represent some entity or thing. … Continue reading


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Comte Henri de Saint-Simon – His concern for the poor shines above everything else

Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) or, more commonly, Saint-Simon is one of those figures who comes up regularly in sociology courses, especially so-called “classical” or “classical theory” courses.¹ Until writing this entry, I knew little about him. But I … Continue reading


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Functionalism – Are we simply what we do?

Embed from Getty Images In art and architecture functionalism refers to combining aesthetics and efficiency. With intellectual roots in the 18th and 19th centuries, in the 1920s and 30s the Bauhaus movement designed furniture for utility. In architecture, the idea … Continue reading


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Psychiatry – An evolving science

Psychiatrist and patient in counseling session Psychiatry generally sees itself as a branch of medicine specializing in the assessment, treatment, study and prevention of unhealthy psychological suffering. However, not everyone sees psychiatry in an entirely benign light. In a nutshell, … Continue reading


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Rakshakas – Hindu and Buddhist demons

Embed from Getty Images Ogoh ogoh, demon procession during Balinese New Year’s Eve in Ubud. In Hinduism, Rakshakas (or Rakshasas) are demons appearing in the Puranas (sacred scripture laden with mythic stories) that are capable of shape shifting. Females are … Continue reading