Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Sociology

Supervisor

Scott E Schaffer

Abstract

The main purpose of this work is to undermine the fact-value distinction as it is presented in the work of Max Weber, and also to provide an outline for an empathic sociology that can replace public sociology by shifting the focus of sociological research from the public sphere to abject material suffering. To do this I will be providing a critical explication of Weber’s methodological writings. I will also construct a notion of empathy using contemporary research in social psychology, as well as the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Paul Sartre. I will then use this notion to argue that empathic sociology is based upon principles that allow for a research method focussed on social change that is not susceptible to the limitations of the fact-value distinction.