Originally published in 1972, this book clarifies ‘ethical’ concepts such as ‘values’, ‘norms’ and ‘precepts’. It begins with a discussion of the conceptual problems faced by any inquiry into moral codes. The author looks in particular at the numerous ways of specifying the ‘moral’ component in human affairs and at the need for a definition appropriate to the requirements of social research. He then examines these questions from amore empirical viewpoint, and emphasis is put on the interplay between concepts and methods in social research. The important issues of ethical relativism and its relation to sociological inquiry is also raised. In this way, some of the possible ethical implications of sociology itself, both as an empirical discipline and as an organizing perspective, are critically examined.
Part 1: Ethics and Sociology 1. The Sociology of Ethics 2. Criteria of Morality 3. Elements of a Moral Code 4. The Concept of Culture Part 2: Review of Research 5. Theory and Practice 6. Review of Research 7. Empirical Studies: 1 Survey Methods 8. Empirical Studies 2: Other Methods Part 3: Ethical Relativism 9. Types of Relativism 10. Relativism and Sociology