The emergence of sociology was linked to the transformations that European society experienced after the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution. These transformations brought about changes, contradictions, conflicts and problems, all of which led to thinking about the possibility of establishing a new social science, similar to the natural sciences, to study these transformations and contribute to determining their course. These transformations intertwined and overlapped between social and political changes and intellectual innovations, some of which Dr. Ahmed Zayed monitors in his introductory book “What is Sociology?”
The book explains that political thought in Europe, especially in the period called the Enlightenment period, focused on the nature of the state, the nature of the relationship between state and society, citizenship rights, and the limits of power for political systems. The state and society, in light of a contractual formula in which individuals give up some of their rights to the state, in order to be able to control and organize society, the state is a living expression of the collective will and works for the sake of the group, as an independent external authority.
The book indicates that this thought, led by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau, contributed to achieving progress at the level of establishing the modern state, which separated from the church and civil society, and became a democratic state based on the principle of free choice and on the principle of equality, and on the other hand it cut off Philosophy has gone a long way in introducing new philosophical ideas that are distinctly different from medieval philosophy.
These philosophical ideas put forward by Descartes and Hegel discussed issues revolving around the role of the mind in life, the possibility of thought’s contribution to changing social life and the establishment of the state, and the important role of the mind in criticizing and refuting ideas, and proposing new alternatives. On the other hand, science and the scientific method sought to achieve The goal of accuracy and objectivity in getting to know the world, and the possibility of the new scientific thinking pattern becoming a method for new life.
On the other hand, natural science was developing, and making great strides in the path of discovery and scientific renewal. Mathematics developed, and as a result, the development of natural science “physics” made discoveries about the universe that changed the old traditional view, and developed chemistry and life sciences, as well as astronomy, and formed The natural sciences gave a new framework, put philosophical ideas about the scientific method into practice, and presented a model of thought radically different from the old traditional model that mixed science with superstition.
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