Dare to Know!

Wow, this first unit of History of Sociology was excellent! It really laid the groundwork and background of how Sociology came to the forefront as a discipline as well as the people who made that happen and their contributions to the change of how we view society and social issues. I do feel however that there is one particular idea/action that happened that really pushed the unknown in peoples minds to the known. The invention of the printing press.

During the Renaissance there was a time of great change. Humanism was coming forward as a new way of thinking and doing. Humanism in the renaissance meant something different than it does today. To take a quote from the slide, humanism means, “The movement to recover, interpret and assimilate the language literature, learning and values of the ancient Greece and Rome”, Pete Burke. This way of thinking allowed people to come out of the dark middle ages into a new world way of thinking so to speak. The printing press allowed for the mass productions of documents and books previously only available to the church. Furthermore, documents were now being translated into numerous languages allowing knowledge to be placed in the common mans hands. Printed materials took the power away from the church and gave it back to the people.

One sociologist that I feel really encompasses this idea is Harriet Martineau. She was not only the first female sociologist, she was the first person to translate the writings of Auguste Comte who has been coined “The Father of Sociology” (Openstax College, 2015, p. 10). Imagine how important that single event was? If it were not for Harriet, the writings of Comte might have been lost to english speaking society. Also, if it were not for the invention of the printing press she would not have had a means to get that information into the hands of the people. Some pretty stout claims for the continuation of learning and growing if you ask me.

In the words of Kant, taken from the slideshow the professor posted, “Dare to know!”. Think on your own, draw your own conclusions, figure things out and ask questions. I believe that the ability to produce printed documents and get those into the hands of regular folks really made that idea/movement a reality thus propelling sociology into a place that it had never been able to be before.

Openstax College, (2015). Introduction to Sociology: Second Edition. Houston, Texas:Open Stacks College.