formal theory and formalization of theory

formal theory and formalization of theory

the rendering of theoretical propositions relating to a particular phenomenon so that they form a set of logically and deductively interrelated propositions, and in which some of these propositions are seen as axioms or premisses, from which the remainder can be deduced as theorems. Zetterberg (1965), for example, sought a . formalization of Durkheim's Division of Labour (1893) in these terms, presenting the following ten propositions:
  1. the greater the division of labour, the greater the consensus;
  2. the greater the solidarity, the greater the number of associates per member;
  3. the greater the number of associates per member, the greater the consensus;
  4. the greater the consensus, the smaller the number of rejections of deviants;
  5. the greater the division of labour, the smaller the number of rejections of deviants;
  6. the greater the number of associates per member, the smaller the number of rejections of deviants;
  7. the greater the division of labour, the greater the solidarity;
  8. the greater the solidarity, the greater the consensus;
  9. the greater the number of associates per member, the greater the division of labour; (j) the greater the solidarity, the smaller the number of rejections of deviants.

Zetterberg selects propositions (g)-(j) as the axioms from which the remainder can be deduced. While formalizations of this sort can have their uses, particularly in revealing logical weaknesses in the previous non-form al statement of a theory, they are not usually regarded as essential, in science or in sociology.

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