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  • cours - matière potentielle : from the cochlea
  • leçon - matière : biology
B o r r o w i n g f r o m B i o l o g y m a k e s f o r l o w — p o w e r c o m p u t i n g B y r a h u l s a r p e s h k a r
  • digital adder
  • gain-control circuit
  • hair cells
  • ear
  • analog
  • tube
  • processing
  • sound
  • membrane
  • power

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Revision: May 2, 2006
RSVP to Soc iology:
Semantics, Syntactics, Empirics,
and the Theory/Method Interface
M. A. Faia
ProfessorofSociology, Emeritus
CollegeofWilliam&Mary
May21,2006
Addressforcorrespondence:
M.A.Faia
DeputyExecutiveDirectorforAcademicDevelopment
ProfessorofSociology
‘Unuaki-‘o-TongaRoyalUniversityofTechnology
Box2963,U.T.R.U.T.,Nuku’alofa
Tonga
SouthPacific
Soft-EclecticSolutions
1835LockhillSelmaRoad,Apartment1332
SanAntonio,TX78213
mafaia1938@yahoo.com
http://faculty.wm.edu/mafaia
210.340.6186















Page 2 of 199
Table of con tents
Pref ace
Chapter 1: Preli mi nari es and Pr edilect ions
Chapter 2: Sociological theory := Cybermodels by POET by ADA
Chapter 3: Theory and Method as Strategies of Search
Chapter 4: Comparative Analysis with Qualitative Variables: A LoglinearView
Chapter5: Theory/MethodInteractionandSerendipity
Chapter6: Quantification:ThreeSlightlyAdvancedTechniques
Chapter7: DifferentialEquationModelingasaSourceofTheoreticalInsight:Four
DisparateExamples







Page 3 of 199
Table of Pages
Preface .................................................. Page 5 of 199
Preliminaries and Predilections ............................... Page 6 of 199
(1) The perennial centrality of t he sys t emic mode ........... Page 6 of 199
(2) “Accidentally on purpose” .......................... Page 11 of 199
(3) Shunning the frumiously unanswerable ................ Page 14 of 199
(4) Synthesize and generalize: The Comtean st yle .......... Page 17 of 199
Sociological theory := Cybe rmodels by POET by ADA ........... Page 23 of 199
(1) The Tilly paradox: Bigger structures, larger processes .... Page 24 of 199
(1.1) A tale of two textbooks .................... Page 24 of 199
(1.2) Five adaptations to extreme complexity: An introduction
...................................... Page 25 of 199
(1.2.1) An ESIE checklist ................. Page 25 of 199
(1.2.2) POET by ADA: A crosslist strategy .... Page 31 of 199
(1.2.3) Chaos theory ..................... Page 34 of 199
(1.2.4) Fuzzy elephants: A didactic simulation
................................ Page 35 of 199
(1.2.5) Comparative narratives and large generalizations Page 42 of 199
(2) “Connect, alw ays connect” (Koestler, 1964:230-33) ..... Page 44 of 199
(2.1) Taxonomic checklists and expert systems ...... Page 44 of 199
(2.2) Taxonomic checklists and chaos theory ........ Page 45 of 199
(2.3) Taxonomic checklists and social simulations .... Page 47 of 199
(2.3.1) Stipulative mechanisms ............. Page 47 of 199
(2.3.2) Does everything grow logist ically? .... Page 49 of 199
(2.4) Taxonomic checklists and the method of co mpar at ive narratives
...................................... Page 53 of 199
(2.5) The social contexts of chaos ................. Page 54 of 199
(2.5.1) Basic orientations .................. Page 54 of 199
(2.5.2) Dollar.bas and boulangeries .......... Page 56 of 199
(2.5.3) Hazardous high-tech ............... Page 59 of 199
(2.5.4) Dumping trash, dumping computers, and dumping
Beauregard ....................... Page 61 of 199
Theory and Method as Strat egies of Search ..................... Page 82 of 199
(1) Constraining the Infinite ........................... Page 84 of 199




























Page 4 of 199
(2) Theoretical demands and social simulations ............ Page 91 of 199
(3) The killer’s in your coffee cup (and so is the floppy-eared rabbit)
............................................ Page 94 of 199
Comparative analysis with qualitative variables: A loglinear view ... Page 103 of 199
(1) Sufficiency and necessity, agreement and difference ..... Page 105 of 199
(2) Darwin needed Mendel, and Mill needed Goodman ..... Page 118 of 199
Theory/Method Interaction and Ser endipity: A Minimalist Presentation of Logli near
Methods wi th Applicat ions to Sex-Role Theory ................ Page 137 of 199
Quantification: Three Slightly Advanced Techniques ............ Page 154 of 199
(1) The aviation chase-around chart: A uni que gr ap hic f or re pr ese nt ing
mult iple regressi on equ at ions with any number of variables
........................................... Page 155of 199
(2) How to ransack compl ex log-l in ear tables without cr os s-t abulat ing one 's
br ain synapses ............................... Page 159 of 199
(2.1) Numerical examples drawn from t he literature .. Page 159 of 199
(2.2) Swafford's model 10: Detailed interpretation ... Page 164 of 199
(2.3) Minitab manipulations ..................... Page 165 of 199
(2.4) Abortion and the single woman: Sources of opposition
..................................... Page 170 of 199
(3) Calculus quicker ................................ Page 176 of 199
(3.1) First program: Differentiation ............... Page 176 of 199
(3.2) Second program: Integration Page 181 of 199


















Page 5 of 199
Preface
A cybermodel (or hyp er mo de l) is a large-scale system theory that often co nt ains both
mi crosocial and ma crosocial elem ents, emphasi zes causal inter co nnect ions among variables,
and uses many of the traditional thought pat terns of functionalism including routine searches
for circular causation. One observes among theories of this genre a continuitythat beliesthe
persistent claimthat the socialsciencesdonotaccumulateknowledge.Theoriesofanyform,
andassociatedmethods,tendtoevolveinsimilarways,andtheygenerallyevolvetoward
increasedcomplexity,nottowardparsimony.Themosthighlydevelopedmultidimensional
theories,becauseoftheircomplexity,oftenoutrunavailablemethodsfortestinghypotheses;
thesituationexemplifiesOgburn'sculturallagprinciple.ThereforeIdiscussstrategiesfor
minimizingthislag,includingtaxonomicchecklists,expertsystems,chaostheory,social
simulations,andthemethodofcomparativenarratives.Giventhecomplexityofhighly
developedcybermodels,suchmodelsshouldconsciously,consistently,andcarefullyavoidthe
generationofnon-testablehypothesesandunanswerablequestions.Themostelaborateand
abstractecologicalcybermodelsalmostinvariablyforcesocialscientiststowardtheComtean
emphasisonsynthesisofandgeneralizationacrossdisciplines,implyingthatrecruitmentand
trainingofsocialscientistsmustbehighlyselectiveanddemanding.














Page 6 of 199
Preliminaries and Predilections
(1) The perennial centr ali ty of the systemic mode
or, The Elders paradox [note 1]: Functionalism may make you blind, but it cannot give
you AIDSoranunwantedpregnancy
ThispaperisdedicatedtoJoycelynElders,formerSurgeonGeneraloftheUnited
States.ApparentlyElderswasdismissedfromherjobintheClintonadministrationlargely
becauseshearguedthat(1)masturbationisawidespreadalbeitwidelycondemnedpractice,
andthat(2)weshouldacknowledgethisanomalyandtrytoenticethefewwhohavenotyet
discoveredmasturbationintotakingadvantageofit.Amajoradvantage,shesuggested,is
thatthepracticecouldhelptopreventsexually-transmitteddisease,suchasAIDS.
Withasimilarlylogicalandcompellingperspective,thepresentpaperarguesthat
functionalism—alsoknownasthesystemicmode—isawidespreadalbeitwidelycondemned
practice,andthatweshouldacknowledgethisanomalyandtrytoenticethefewwhohave
notyetdiscoveredfunctionalismintotakingadvantageofit;itmakesforgoodmentalhealth,
anditmayevenhavephysicalbenignancies.Theanalogydoesfailatcertainpoints:
Masturbation,forinstance,cannotbedoneinadvertentlyorsubconsciously,exceptunderthe
rarestofcircumstances.Wefindinthepresentinstance,however,thatamongscholarswho
workattheverycenterofseveralcontemporarytheoreticalmovements,therearethosewho
openlycondemntheallegedlyillicitpracticesoffunctionalismwhileneverthelessindulging
themselvesinthemwholeheartedlyandapparentlyunawares.Verily,wecannotcondemn
thesescholarsastheythemselveswantonlyhavecondemnedtheirbrethren,fortheyknow
notwhattheydo(Harris,1980).
Anothertaskofthispaper,then,istomakeinadvertent,subconscious,functionalist
systemtheoryexplicit,toshowthatthisformofsocial-sciencetheorydoesindeedhave
continuityrightuptothepresentmoment.JoycelynEldersmadethesameassumption,
mutatismutandis.























Page 7 of 199
(1.1)
Working theoretical strategies, to Berger and Zelditch (1993:14),
... are impor t ant factors in growth ..., [but] the working strategy does not
grow if it does not produce theories. Merton's [functionalist] paradigmhas
beenevidentlydifficult to realize.Forexample,ithasproveddifficult to
developatheorywithinwhichonecoulddeterminethepositive,negative,and
netfunctionsofastructure.Buttheoreticalgrowthdependsonusingstrategies
toformulatetheories.Thus,despiteAlexander's“neofunctionalism,”Merton's
paradigmoffunctionalismdoesnotseemtohavegrownatallunlessonetakes
itsabandonmentasakindofgrowth.
Ontheotherhand,perhapswhatwereallyhavewitnessedistheabandonmentofthe
terminologyoffunctionalism,asopposedtothesubstanceofit,becausetheformerhas
simplyfallenoutoffashion.[note2]Ifthisistrue,thenwemustbecomealerttothe
possibilitythatwemayfindthesamefinesavorywineunderanewlabel,andperhapsmany
newlabels.
Inanycase,Iproposethefollowingnot-unfriendlysyllogism.Itisaperfectlylogical
syllogism,despitethefactthatitsconclusionisfalse.Itsconclusionisfalsebecauseatleast
oneofitspremisesisfalse.
Majorpremise,fromBergerandZelditch:Ifatheoryisfunctionalistic,thenit
hasnotgrown.
Minorpremise:IntheBerger-Zelditchvolume,thefirstexampleof“the
growthofaprogram,”involvingstatuscharacteristicstheoryandprovidedby
DavidWagnerincollaborationwithBerger(1993)himself,isundeniably
functionalistic.
Therefore,WagnerandBergerdescribeaprogramthathasnotgrown,andthe
majorthesisoftheBerger-Zelditchbookiscontradicted.
Inmyestimationtheconclusionisfalsebecausethefirstpremiseisfalse—functionalistic
theories,asIproposetoshow,areflourishing.Assumingthatnobodywishestodisputethe























Page 8 of 199
claim that status characteristics theory is also growing apace, my sole responsibility in
isolating the first premise as the lone culprit is to demonstrate that t he minor premi se is
correct. This is ea sy: We mer ely let Wagner and Berger speak for themselves.
Wagner and Berger (1993:31) describe Lenski's status crystallization theory as a “core
idea” of status characteristics theory. Theysaythat “...inconsistenciesareassumedtocreate
tensionandanxiety”andthat“actorscanreducethetensionbyeliminating(e.g.,ignoringor
hiding)inconsistentstatuses.Iftheycannotreducetheinconsistency,thentheymaybecome
isolatedandbepronetovarioustypesofcopingbehaviors(e.g.,politicalradicalism.)”
Presumablyincasesinvolvingpoliticalradicalism,statusinconsistenciesthemselvesmaybe
changeddirectly,throughfeedback;therefore,thisisatheorythatatleastpotentially
explainsastructure,statusinconsistency,withreferencetoitsconsequences,anditis
thereforefunctionalistic.“Ignoringorhiding”inconsistencies,ontheotherhand,involvesa
rangeofindirectadaptations,asoftenoccursintheFreudianfunctionalismofpsychological
adjustment.Insubsequentparagraphs,WagnerandBergerspeculateaboutadditionalwaysin
whichpeoplemayadapttoperceivedstatusdiscrepancies,intheirownsituationsoramong
thosewithwhomtheyinteract.ThesevariousimplicationsoftheLenski-Wagner-Berger
theorymaynotbetrue,butthelogicofthetheoryispreciselyMertonian;and,sincethe
theoryaddressestheconsequencesoftensionandanxiety,itisalsopreciselyMalinowskian.
ItdoesnotmatterthatMalinowskiandvariousFreudiansdidnotagreeabout,say,the
parricidalcrisis,andthatonesideortheotherhadtobeessentiallywrong;Malinowskiand
hisFreudianopponentswereallnonethelesscard-carryingfunctionalists.
Nordoesitmatterthattensionandanxiety,inLenski'searliestformulationofstatus-
discrepancytheory,maynothaveaclearrelationshiptothesurvivalofsocialentities.Ifwe
focusoncontemporaryworkbyLenskiandcollaborators(Lenskietal.,1991:105),wefinda
strongemphasisonsurvival:forinstance,theclaimthat“...ifthereeverwere[hunting-
gathering]societiesthatusedwomenextensivelyinhunting,theyprobablydidnotsurvive
becauseoflowbirthrates.”TheentiretheoreticaledificeoftheLenski,Nolan,andLenski
textbook(1995)isbuiltonecologicalandevolutionaryhypothesesthatoftenoverlap
Darwinianfunctionalism.Andanothertheoreticaltradition,basedonevent-historystudies
andstronglyrepresentedwithintheStanfordsociologydepartment,hasturnedupmany
instancesinwhichcontemporaryorganizationshavetheirlivesconsiderablyshortenedifthey
containmaladaptivestructuralfeatures.Ifthesefeaturesreducesurvivorship,andifsocial
selectionactsagainstthesefeatures—andbydefinitionitdoes[note3]—thenonceagainwe
findourselveswithintheMertoniancamp:Weexplainstructureswithreferencetotheir
consequences.




























Page 9 of 199
Having reminded ourselves about the essential elements of Mer t on's functi onali st
pa r ad igm, we need no further i nte rpretati on of the following remarks, also from Wagner and
Berger. In each instance it is relatively easy to see the structural feature, the consequences
flowing fromthe structure, and howtheconsequencesthemselvesmayfeedbacktomodify
thestructure(WagnerandBerger,1993:37;finalitalicsmine):
Thestatusvalueviewofjusticewasdevelopedoriginallytochallengean
earlierviewcalledequitytheory...Equitytheoryfocusesontheexchange,or
consummatory,valueofrewards;itassumesthatevaluationsofjusticeand
injusticearebasedoncomparisonsofoneactor'sratioofthevaluesof
investmentstorewardswiththatofthesecondactor...Iftheratiosareequal,
thesituationisregardedasequitableandstable;iftheratiosareunequal,the
situationisinequitableandsubjecttopressurestoreducetheinequity.
The“statusvalueview”introducesnewdimensionsintothisargument[cf.Geschwender],
butinsodoingitdoesnotdepartfromtheMertonianparadigm:Socialstructures,orother
aspectsofhumanculture,againexplainedwithreferencetotheirconsequences.
WagnerandBerger(1993:41)saythatstatuscharacteristicstheoryhasengendered
amajorprogramofapplicationsandinterventionresearch...byE.G.Cohen
andherassociates...Theinitialstatuscharacteristicstheorywasusedto
describetheinterracialinteractiondisabilityexperiencedbyblackstudents...
Subsequently,aninterventionwasdevelopedtohelpreducetheinequalityin
powerandprestigethesestudentsfaced.
RegardingthisexampleIampreparedtoarguethat,ifweassumethatevaluationresearch
leadstoaredesignofinterventionstrategiesandtoadditionalexperiments,thenbydefinition
interventionandevaluationprogramscomplywithandexemplifytheMertonparadigm.
Notice,finally,thatsimilarformulationsarefoundthroughouttheremainderofthe
Wagner-Bergerarticle,andindeedthroughouttheremainderoftheBerger-Zelditchbook.In
conclusion,whileIcarrynobrieffortheuseoftraditionalfunctionalistterminology,I
stronglysuggestthatwerecognizethatthefunctionalistlogic,initsessentialMertonian
manifestation,hasbeenthekeystoneofalargepartofourbestwork,contemporaryand/or
historical.























Page 10 of 199
(1.2)
In Coleman's (1990:259-60) seminal opus on rational choice theory we find, with
regard to functionalism, the same paradoxical attitude:
In the preceding examination of the use of norms by sets ofactors, I have
avoidedusing the term“function,”althoughitwould benaturaltohave
written,forexample,that“setsofpersonsdevelopnormsnotonlytoservea
protectivefunctionagainstactionsthatimposenegativeexternalities,butalso
toperformpositivefunctionsforthem.”Ihaveavoidedusingthetermbecause
oftheconfusionsurroundingitsuseinsocialtheory.Inparticular,radical
versionsoffunctionalanalysishavepurportedtoexplaintheexistenceofa
phenomenonbyitsfunction.Inthiscontextthatwouldmeanexplainingthe
emergenceofanormbythefunctionsitservesforthesetofactorswhohold
it.
Colemandoesnotprovidecitationsto“radical”functionalists,nortoanycomparable
practitionersofself-abuse.However,radicalornotandself-acknowledgedornot,
functionalistsgenerallysubscribetotheprincipleofmulticausalexplanation,andcannot
typicallybeaccusedoftryingtoexplainstructuressolelywithreferencetotheconscious
interestsofactors(Harris,1979).
Colemancontinues:
Itshouldbeclear,however,thatthefunctionsanormservesforthosewho
holdit...arenotsufficientasanexplanationofitsemergenceorcontinued
existence....Intheexplanationoftheemergenceofnormsgiveninthisbook,
thatisonlythefirstoftwonecessaryconditions.Theconditionunderwhich
thoseinterestswillberealized,tobeexaminedinthenextchapter,isthe
secondhalfoftheexplanation.
Whenwereadthenextchapter,however,weseethatthereisnosubstantialdeparturefrom
thefunctionalistparadigm:Thefunctionalistterminologycouldreadilyhavebeenadopted,
forinstance,inColeman'sdiscussionofgossip—i.e.,thefunctionsofgossipincreating
and/ormaintainingnorms.ContinuingfromColeman: