ESSAY INCLUDES A CRITERIA FOR THE ESSAY AND WRITING FORMAT
• Write an essay of 1500 words (+/- 50) on one (1) of the following topics:
1. Is culture relevant in the production of useful knowledge? Explain Henrich’s statement that “we don’t have culture because we are smart, but we’re smart because we have culture.” What are the consequences of his findings for the idealized figure of the modern rational individual?
2. Discuss the idea that what Weber said about “objectivity” in the social sciences can also be applied to the natural sciences under the light of the findings of quantum mechanics. In your answer, consider the possibility of opening up to the validity of other types of knowledge beyond science and discuss this with respect to one specific example of an alternative type of knowledge. Can our beliefs condition/determine what we know?
3. Why have there been so many critical reactions to a scientific kind of knowledge of human life and experience? Answer this question by sketching the many “posts” in contemporary human sciences and then engage in an in-depth discussion of one such “post” reaction to modernity or positivism.
4. How do theory and facts intersect in the production of knowledge in the social sciences? How do the two “meaning systems” work and how do explanation and interpretation interact, according to Reed? Make sure you illustrate your answer with specific examples from social theory and social life.
5. Alternatively, you can come up with your own question that must relate to the topics covered in this part of the course. Make sure you talk to me about your question and submit it to me at least three full days before submitting your essay.