Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Einladung zum Schattenboxen: Die Soziologie und die moderne Biologie

Contents:

Author Info

  • Mayntz, Renate
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Die moderne Biologie, speziell Genetik und Neurobiologie, scheinen die handlungstheoretische Basis der Soziologie in Frage zu stellen. Widerlegen ihre neuesten Ergebnisse tatsächlich Axiome, deren Fortfall das soziologische Theoriegebäude einstürzen ließe? Diese Axiome beziehen sich auf unser Menschenbild. Diesem Menschenbild zufolge hat der im Prozess primärer und sekundärer Sozialisation geprägte Akteur soziokulturell geformte Präferenzen, die sein Handeln leiten. Er ist offen für seine Umwelt und reproduziert in seinem Handeln kulturell vorgegebene Muster. Die moderne Genetik scheint das Verhältnis zwischen Natur und Umwelt, nature and nurture in der Bestimmung des menschlichen Handelns zugunsten der Natur zu verschieben. Bei genauerer Betrachtung bestätigt sich jedoch, dass der handelnde Mensch der Soziologie ganz überwiegend ein Produkt der Sozialisation in eine historisch geformte Gesellschaft hinein ist. Die Genetik definiert lediglich die äußerste Grenze soziokultureller Formbarkeit. Die Hirnforschung stellt den autonomen Akteur in Frage und macht Bewusstsein zum Epiphänomen organisch-neurologischer Prozesse. Für die Soziologie ist der freie Wille jedoch niemals notwendiges handlungstheoretisches Axiom gewesen. Nicht ob Menschen bewusst handeln, sondern nach welchen – bewussten oder unbewussten – Regeln sie es tun, ist soziologisch relevant. Dabei hat die Hirnforschung selbst festgestellt, dass die ins erwachsene Gehirn einprogrammierten Reaktionstendenzen nicht genetisch determiniert sind, sondern in Interaktion mit der Umwelt "gelernt" oder zumindest verstärkt oder gehemmt werden. Die nachgewiesene Plastizität des Gehirns bannt die Gefahr des neurologischen Determinismus. Auch inhaltlich stellen die neu entdeckten, neurophysiologisch verankerten Reaktionstendenzen die von Soziologen benutzte Handlungstheorie nicht in Frage. Die Soziologie braucht und benutzt lediglich ein stilisiertes Modell des Menschen: Der homo sociologicus ist ein höchst selektives Konstrukt. Das intellektuelle Schattenboxen mit der modernen Biologie fördert keinen Widerspruch zu fundamentalen soziologischen Axiomen zutage. -- Modern biology appears to challenge the theory of action that lies at the basis of sociology. This paper asks whether recent research results in genetics and neurobiology do in fact contradict basic axioms of sociological theory. These axioms refer to the sociological image of man. According to this image, the human actor is formed in processes of primary and secondary socialization, his preferences are shaped by his social environment, and in his actions he reproduces cultural patterns. Modern genetics appears to change the relation between nature and nurture in determining human action in favor of nature. Looking more closely, however, recent research confirms that the human actor is indeed largely a product of socialization into a given historical society; genetics defines only the outer limit to the influence of socio-cultural factors. Modern neurobiology challenges our notion of the autonomous actor and makes consciousness appear a mere epiphenomenon. Free will, however, has never been a necessary axiom of sociological action theory. Nor is conscious choice a necessary sociological assumption; what is sociologically relevant is the content of the rules that human actors follow, whether consciously or not. The danger of neurological determinism is warded off by proof of brain plasticity. Brain research itself has shown that reaction tendencies programmed into the adult brain are not genetically determined, but have been 'learned' or at least reinforced or dampened in interaction with the environment. Nor do the newly discovered, neurologically based reaction tendencies contradict the sociological image of man; this is a highly selective construct that includes only a few biological traits. The sociological version of the homo sociologicus is not challenged by modern biology.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/19935/1/dp06-7.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 06/7.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:067

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Paulstr. 3, 50676 Köln
    Phone: + 49 (0) 221-2767-0
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.mpifg.de/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs & Kosfeld, Michael, 2005. "Neuroeconomic Foundations of Trust and Social Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 1641, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. repec:ags:afjare:141665 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 6355.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:067. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.