The Relation of Ethics to Sociology

Henry Sidgwick

in Essays on Ethics and Method

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250234
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598432 | DOI:

Series: British Moral Philosophers

 The Relation of Ethics to Sociology

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Here Sidgwick presents his position on how ethical theory differs from the then new enterprise of sociology. After discussing the contributions made to the latter discipline by Comte and Spencer (and Mill), Sidgwick analyses the claim that sociology absorbs ethical theory, reducing it to a subordinate branch of sociology. He argues that although these disciplines can and should be harmonized, it is not possible to bring together two such different lines of thought. Whereas ethical theory is a normative endeavour, sociology is inherently descriptive.

Keywords: Auguste Comte; ethical theory; Mill; normative; Sidgwick; sociology; Herbert Spencer

Chapter.  7522 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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