Topics Worth Investigating

  1. Does the adoption of a thinking, speculative view of human conduct affect one's outlook on life as Venn suggests. Would Venn agree, in this regard, with the aphorism, "Ignorance is bliss"?

  2. Explain how Venn argues against sociology's value-neutrality. Is his argument successful?

  3. When Venn objects to the dogmatism expressed in the belief "that the sorrows and the crimes of our fellow-men are only the necessary product of the existing state of society, and that the efforts of the individual are insignificant," what are the philosophical presuppostions of the doctrine he is refuting?

  4. Carefully clarify the differences between the doctrine of fatalism, the doctrine of necessity, and the doctrine of determinism. Show which view admits of the most ambiguity.

  5. The "ecological fallacy" and its more specific relatives, the "modifiable area unit problem" and the economist's "aggregation bias" are more recent variants of Venn's "fatalistic fallacy." Can these fallacies be classified as types of the more general fallacy of composition? Can the distinction between ethics and social science be based on the presuppositions of this fallacy? Are these "fallacies" related to the problems of emergent levels and reductionism?