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# Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist who

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Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist who  [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2018, 04:40
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Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist who rose to prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is credited with being one of the principal founders of modern sociology. When Durkheim began writing, sociology was not recognized as an independent field of study. As part of the campaign to change this scenario, he went to great lengths to separate sociology from all other disciplines, especially philosophy.

Durkheim’s perspective differed from other sociologists of his era as his theories were founded on things external in nature such as social facts, as opposed to those internal in nature, such as the motivations and desires of individuals. As per him, social phenomena arise when a certain reality emerges from the behavior of interacting individuals, but this same reality cannot be explained in terms of the characteristics of individual agents. For instance, he could argue that social formations such as gangs, political parties and associations are comprised of individual members, but the macro outcome resulting from such organizations operates in a different level and produces results that would not occur on an individual level. He, therefore, believed that the society was far superior to any of its individual components and could hence exert a coercive power on individuals to lead them to acceptable levels of satisfaction. His idea was that happiness and wants are tied to each other. He said, “To pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable is to condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness... To achieve any other result, the passions first must be limited. But since the individual has no way of limiting them, this must be done by some force exterior to him”.This exterior force of course in his opinion was the society.

1. Which of the following best describes the main focus of the passage?
A. explanation of a particular perspective on society
B. the recognition of a subject as a separate field of study
C. the work and ideas of a key sociologist
D. establishing the superiority of a 20th-century sociologist over his peers
E. appreciation for a particular take on the role of society

the first paragraph is dedicated to introducing Durkheim and emphasizing his contribution to modern sociology. The second paragraph takes about his perspective on social phenomena and society as a whole. Therefore, the author’s purpose is to focus on a key sociologist and some of his ideas in the field.

A. explanation of a particular perspective on society
Incorrect: Partial Scope
The author does explain a take on society but it is done from the point of view of presenting Durkheim’s position on something. The perspective on its own is not the focus of the passage. So, while this choice does account for some of the contents of the passage, it does not capture the essence of the passage.
B.the recognition of a subject as a separate field of study
Incorrect: Partial Scope
This choice barely captures the contents of the first paragraph and is, hence, too narrow.
C.the work and ideas of a key sociologist
Correct
This choice matches our pre-thinking analysis.
D.establishing the superiority of a 20th century sociologist over his peers
Incorrect: Out of Context
Yes, Durkheim, a 20th century sociologist, is considered one of the founding members of modern sociology and yes, his perspective of society was different from his peers, but this difference is not the focus of the passage. The author does not make any effort to suggest that Durkheim’s work was more thorough or better in any fashion to other sociologists.
E.appreciation a particular take on the role of society
Incorrect: Out of Scope
First of all, as stated in the explanation for choice A, the explanation of Durkheim’s perspective is not by itself the main focus of the passage. The author delves in to it to explain what Durkheim as a sociologist thought about society. Secondly, and more importantly, the author does not appreciate this take. The tone of the author on this aspect is neutral.

2.Which one of the following statements can be inferred from the section below?
(Second paragraph, second last sentence)
To pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable is to condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness... To achieve any other result, the passions first must be limited. But since the individual has no way of limiting them, this must be done by some force exterior to him

A. The plethora of choices available to humans leads to the problem of plenty, causing unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
B. Left alone to the individual, a result other than unhappiness is not possible.
C. Setting a goal in life is akin to setting oneself for failure and unhappiness.
D. Humans always run after material things that they cannot fully attain, thereby obtaining nothing but unhappiness.
E. Because an individual is incapable of limiting his passions, he exerts force on society to fulfil these wants.

Right before the statement is made, the author talks about how Durkheim thought the society could play a moderating role and lead individuals to acceptable levels of contentment. The author then quotes Durkheim and states the cited statement. As seen in the passage analysis, the gist of his thought is: humans have unlimited wants and if they keep running after these wants, they will be always unhappy. To have any other result (other than unhappiness), the passions/wants must be limited. However, since humans cannot limit these wants, some outside force must do so. (This outside force we are told later is the society.)

A.The plethora of choices available to humans leads to the problem of plenty, causing unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
Incorrect: Out of Scope
There is no mention of choices anywhere in the passage, leave alone this section. The remark is about human wants.
B.Left alone to the individual, a result other than unhappiness is not possible.
Correct
Durkheim clearly states that to achieve a result other than unhappiness, passions must be limited and that an individual is himself not capable of limiting wants. The limitless wants lead to unhappiness. As per Durkheim, an exterior force is a must to limit these wants/passions. Hence, left alone to the individual, unhappiness is the only possible result. Note that the language of the choice is extreme, but the context clearly allows us to infer so.
C.Setting a goal in life is akin to setting oneself for failure and unhappiness.
Incorrect: Out of Context
The author sets the context very clearly for what kind of goal is being talked about in the referred statement. It is not that every goal in life is likely to cause unhappiness. The goal mentioned in the statement is the goal of running after endless wants.
D.Humans always run after material things that they cannot fully attain, thereby obtaining nothing but unhappiness.
Incorrect: Out of Scope
Yes, running after unlimited wants is defined by Durkheim as something that leads to unhappiness. But these wants do not necessarily have to be materialistic in nature. There is no given information to support this aspect.
E. Because an individual is incapable of limiting his passions, he exerts force on society to fulfil these wants.
Incorrect: Inconsistent
The first half of this choice is correct. Durkheim does say that an individual is not capable of limiting his wants; however, he never says anything about the individual exerting force on the society. Durkheim, in fact, appeals to the society to control these wants/passions.

3. Which of the following is stated in the passage?
A. Durkheim was the first sociologist to try to separate the fields of sociology and philosophy.
B. As per Durkheim, individuals interacting with one another are responsible for giving birth to a social phenomenon.
C. As per Durkheim, wants always lead to unhappiness.
D. Durkheim started working in the field of sociology in the late 19th century.
E. Durkheim’s perspective of society is unique since no other sociologist has ever formed theories that are based on external elements.

A.Durkheim was the first sociologist to try to separate the fields of sociology and philosophy.
Incorrect: Out of Scope
Although we are told that he made a lot of efforts to separate the two, there is no information given regarding whether he was the first one to do so.
B.As per Durkheim, individuals interacting with one another are responsible for giving birth to a social phenomenon.
Correct
This piece of information is given to us explicitly in the following statement:
As per him, social phenomena arise when a certain reality emerges from the behavior of interacting individuals…
C.As per Durkheim, wants always lead to unhappiness.
Incorrect: Inconsistent
Durkheim said pursuing the goal of limitless wants leads to unhappiness and not that wants invariably lead to unhappiness.
D.Durkheim started working in the field of sociology in the late 19th century.
Incorrect: Out of Scope
In the first paragraph, we are told that Durkheim became famous in the latter half of the nineteenth century but we are not told when he started working.
E.Durkheim’s perspective of society is unique since no other sociologist has ever formed theories that are based on external elements.
Incorrect: Out of Scope
The only comparison we are given in this context is between Durkheim and other sociologists of his era. However, this choice makes a comparison between him and all other, including those before and after his time, sociologists.

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Re: Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist who  [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2018, 21:15
Skywalker18 GMATNinja GMATNinja2

3. Which of the following is stated in the passage?
A. Durkheim was the first sociologist to try to separate the fields of sociology and philosophy.
B. As per Durkheim, individuals interacting with one another are responsible for giving birth to a social phenomenon.
C. As per Durkheim, wants always lead to unhappiness.
D. Durkheim started working in the field of sociology in the late 19th century.
E. Durkheim’s perspective of society is unique since no other sociologist has ever formed theories that are based on external elements.

Why cannot A be the answer.

It is mentioned in the first paragraph that "When Durkheim began writing, sociology was not recognized as an independent field of study. As part of the campaign to change this scenario, he went to great lengths to separate sociology from all other disciplines, especially philosophy."

Option A says "Durkheim was the first sociologist to try to separate the fields of sociology and philosophy."

We can clearly infer this.
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Re: Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist who  [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2018, 23:39
warrior1991 wrote:
Skywalker18 GMATNinja GMATNinja2

3. Which of the following is stated in the passage?
A. Durkheim was the first sociologist to try to separate the fields of sociology and philosophy.
B. As per Durkheim, individuals interacting with one another are responsible for giving birth to a social phenomenon.
C. As per Durkheim, wants always lead to unhappiness.
D. Durkheim started working in the field of sociology in the late 19th century.
E. Durkheim’s perspective of society is unique since no other sociologist has ever formed theories that are based on external elements.

Why cannot A be the answer.

It is mentioned in the first paragraph that "When Durkheim began writing, sociology was not recognized as an independent field of study. As part of the campaign to change this scenario, he went to great lengths to separate sociology from all other disciplines, especially philosophy."

Option A says "Durkheim was the first sociologist to try to separate the fields of sociology and philosophy."

We can clearly infer this.

Hi warrior1991,

May i can be of some help.

A can not be the answer we know he went to great length to separate sociology from philosophy but we do not know he was the first one to do so. There could be many folks who tried to that but did not get prominence.
Any ways inference must always be 100 percent correct and can be drawn from the information from the passage.
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Re: Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist who  [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2018, 23:43
warrior1991 wrote:
2

3. Which of the following is stated in the passage?
A. Durkheim was the first sociologist to try to separate the fields of sociology and philosophy.
B. As per Durkheim, individuals interacting with one another are responsible for giving birth to a social phenomenon.
C. As per Durkheim, wants always lead to unhappiness.
D. Durkheim started working in the field of sociology in the late 19th century.
E. Durkheim’s perspective of society is unique since no other sociologist has ever formed theories that are based on external elements.

Why cannot A be the answer.

It is mentioned in the first paragraph that "When Durkheim began writing, sociology was not recognized as an independent field of study. As part of the campaign to change this scenario, he went to great lengths to separate sociology from all other disciplines, especially philosophy."

Option A says "Durkheim was the first sociologist to try to separate the fields of sociology and philosophy."

We can clearly infer this.

It is not mentioned that Durkheim was the first sociologist to do so, many other people might have tried doing so but could have been unsuccessful in it. It was Durkheim whose work got enough recognition. Hope that answers .
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Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist who  [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2018, 23:45
2.Which one of the following statements can be inferred from the section below?
(Second paragraph, second last sentence)
To pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable is to condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness... To achieve any other result, the passions first must be limited. But since the individual has no way of limiting them, this must be done by some force exterior to him

A. The plethora of choices available to humans leads to the problem of plenty, causing unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
B. Left alone to the individual, a result other than unhappiness is not possible.
C. Setting a goal in life is akin to setting oneself for failure and unhappiness.
D. Humans always run after material things that they cannot fully attain, thereby obtaining nothing but unhappiness.
E. Because an individual is incapable of limiting his passions, he exerts force on society to fulfil these wants.

Hi mikemcgarry, GMATNinja
How are you Sir.
I was able to eliminate C, D and E. I finally chose A but A is incorrect.
While i understand B is the answer i am having difficulty to eliminate option A as "The plethora of choices available to humans leads to the problem of plenty, causing unhappiness and dissatisfaction." clearly points to the information in the passage.
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Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist who &nbs [#permalink] 05 Jul 2018, 23:45
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