Sociology as a «Strong Science»:
Leon Petrazhitsky’s Unfinished Project


Timoshina E.V.

Dr. Sci. (Law), Professor, Department of Theory and History of State and Law, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia e.timoshina@spbu.ru

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250007745-2
ID of the Article: 7934


For citation:

Timoshina E.V. Sociology as a «Strong Science»: Leon Petrazhitsky’s Unfinished Project. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 12. P. 115-125



Abstract

Author reviews the Warsaw period works by Leon Petrażycki and his logical and methodological studies in order to reconstruct his project of sociology based on them. In his intention, sociology should have become the common foundation of the whole set of social sciences (theory of law and morality, political economy, etc.). However, according to Petrażycki, sociology does not yet exist as a «strict science», and he considers contemporary sociological concepts as exhibits of the «Scientific Pathology Museum». The author denies traditional identification between Petrażycki’s sociological project and the empirical tradition in sociology. Petrażycki constructs sociology as theoretical science and uses following methodological tools: 1) the principle of adequacy of the theory, 2) the theorem on n + 1 theories; 3) the doctrine of positions (atomic elements of judgments) as the basis for classifying sciences. In Petrażycki’s interpretation, the subject of sociology is evolutionary processes of behavior motivation. Sociology of Petrażycki, known from the summaries of his disciples, does not fully correspond to his own logical and methodological criteria: it is reduced to the theory of genesis and evolution of ethical (moral and legal) motivation. At the same time, he considers sociology of law to be a superfluous discipline. Probably, this incompleteness of the sociology project is a reason why Petrażycki has refused to publish the finished manuscript on sociology. Finally, author discusses how Pitirim Sorokin had used some logical and methodological ideas of Petrażycki to develop his own system of sociology.


Keywords
subject of sociology; methodological foundations of sociology; theoretical sociology; ontology of social reality; sociological realism; sociological nominalism; social evolution; L. Petrażycki

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Content No 12, 2019