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The History Of Meaning

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Chapter Summary

The problem of meaning is one of the most complex problems in social science with particular significance for the study of religion because the act of defining meaning is self-referential. Meaning-giving and meaning-arguing play important roles in sociology because it is through meanings that we realize the specifically human. This chapter addresses the context of the sociology of religion, but the author thinks these comments can be to a greater or lesser extent generalized further. The chapter refers "history" to mean the study of past human social formations as people and environment interacted in a combination of motives from survival on the one hand to personal and social betterment on the other. Virtually all of the figures who are introduced as the pioneers of "modern sociology" gave considerable a considerable amount of their time to the study of religion: Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel.

Keywords: meaning; religion; sociology



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