Sociology as Useless as "Naturology"
At least for a non-insider, sociology is not a very useful science, if it can be called a science or even a discipline at all. With its checkered history, it looks more like an “undiscipline.” Although there are some brilliant exceptions, the common denominator of most sociologists seems to be the belief that individuals, or at least non-sociologists, are a product of society and that socialism is the solution to all problems. Current exceptions revolve around the rational-choice school of sociology, inspired by economists who applied their methodology to “social” issues such as discrimination, marriage, social capital, etc. At the first rank of these economists figures Gary Becker, laureate of the 1992 Nobel prize in economics.
In his Nobel lecture, “The Economic Way of Looking at Life,” Becker noted:
Specialists from fields that do consider social questions are often attracted to the economic way of modelling behavior because of the analytical power provided by the assumption of individual rationality. Thriving schools of rational choice theorists and empirical researchers are active in sociology, law, political science, history, anthropology, and psychology. The rational choice model provides the most promising basis presently available for a unified approach to the analysis of the social world by scholars from the social sciences
In one of his most important works, Law, Legislation, and Liberty, published in three volumes from 1973 to 1978 (University of Chicago Press, 2022, for the consolidated edition by Jeremy Shearmur), Friedrich Hayek, also a Nobel economist, suggests that a distinct science of society (“sociology”) does not make more sense than would a distinct science of the natural world (call it “naturology”):
I must confess here that, however grateful we all must be for some of the descriptive work of the sociologists, for which, however, perhaps anthropologists and historians would have been equally qualified, there seems to me still to exist no more justification for a theoretical discipline of sociology than there would be for a theoretical discipline of naturology apart from the theoretical disciplines dealing with particular classes of natural or social phenomena. (p. 534)