„The last two decades have witnessed, especially in Germany and France, the rise of a new discipline, the sociology of knowledge (Wissenssoziologie), with a rapidly increasing number of students and a growing literature (even a “selected bibliography” would include several hundred titles). Since most of the investigations in this field have been concerned with the socio-cultural factors influencing the development of beliefs and opinion rather than of positive knowledge, the term. “Wissen” must be interpreted very broadly indeed, as referring to social ideas and thought generally, and not to the physical sciences, except where expressly indicated.“

—  Robert Merton, p. 493
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Robert Merton
1910 - 2003
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„The beginning of the twentieth century witnessed the breakdown of the mechanistic theory even within physics, the science where it was the most successful... Relativity took over in field physics, and the science of quantum theory in microphysics... In view of parallel developments in physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, and economics, many branches of the contemporary sciences became... ‘sciences of organized complexity’ — that is, systems sciences.“

—  Ervin László Hungarian musician and philosopher 1932
p. 8 as cited in: Martha C. Beck (2013) "Contemporary Systems Sciences, Implications for the Nature and Value of Religion, the Five Principles of Pancasila, and the Five Pillars of Islam," Dialogue and Universalism-E Volume 4, Number 1/2013. p. 3 ( online http://www.emporia.edu/~cbrown/dnue/documents/vol04.no01.2013/Vol04.01.Beck.pdf).

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„Theory in the social sciences should have three major functions. First, it should aid in the codification of our existing concrete knowledge. It can do so by providing generalized hypotheses for the systematic reformulation of existing facts and insights, by extending the range of implication of particular hypotheses, and by unifying discrete observations under general concepts. Through codification, general theory in the social sciences will help to promote the process of cumulative growth of our knowledge. In making us more aware of the interconnections among items of existing knowledge which are now available in a scattered, fragmentary form, it will help us fix our attention on the points where further work must be done.
Second, general theory in the social sciences should be a guide to research. By codification it enables us to locate and define more precisely the boundaries of our knowledge and of our ignorance. Codification facilitates the selection of problems, although it is not, of course, the only useful technique for the selection of problems for fruitful research. Further than this, general theory should provide hypotheses to be applied and tested by the investigation of these problems...
Third, general theory as a point of departure for specialized work in the social sciences will facilitate the control of the biases of observation and interpretation which are at present fostered by the departmentalization of education and research in the social sciences.“

—  Talcott Parsons American sociologist 1902 - 1979
p. 3