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Title: Relativism, vitalism and modernity in Georg Simmel's social theory
Author: Gangas, Spiros
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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Current sociological theory seems to be in a state of confusion due to the lack of a substantive paradigmatic framework of explanation. Debates in post-modern discourse seems to undermine the concept of epistemology and the idea of a progressive social science. My interest in Georg Simmel's social theory stems from what I saw as being problematic interpretations of his work, which discourage the view of Simmel as a substantive and methodologically rigorous social theorist. These interpretations, in light of their relevance to modern debates, contribute to the marginalisation of classical social and sociological theory. My particular focus is based around epistemological and cultural issues in Simmel's social theory and their relation to wider aspects of European thought in general. I have looked at Simmel's underlying ideas in epistemology, such as relativism and vitalism and I have tried to demonstrate their interrelated nature and show their significance for current issues in the epistemology of social science. Thus, I examine the precise relationship between notions of power and utility and I address dominant and established themes in Simmel's theory, such as formal sociology and historicism through the perspective of relativism and vitalism. Both theoretic approaches serve as methodological tools for a new synthetic interpretation of Simmel's sociology that attempts to unify epistemology and the sociology of culture with the aim of providing a better understanding of modern society. Among the contributions to European thought that I regard as particularly significant for a proper understanding of Simmel's work are Nietzsche's nihilism, Dilthey's historical hermeneutics, Bergson's vitalism and Spengler's critique of modernity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available