But if "generality" is thus the criterion by which we recognize the normality of a social fact, this criterion itself still requires an explanation. Durkheim thus added the method of Cartesian doubt to Bacon's caveats concerning praenotiones, arguing that the sociologist must deny himself the use of those concepts formed outside of science and for extra-scientific needs: "He must free himself from those fallacious notions which hold sway over the mind of the ordinary person, shaking off, once and for all the yoke of those empirical categories that long habit often makes tyrannical. Durkheim distinguishes sociology from other sciences and justifies his rationale. The term "constraint" seems to have enjoyed a still greater elasticity, for Durkheim used it variously to refer to the authority of laws as manifested through repressive sanctions; the need to follow certain rules in order to successfully perform certain tasks; the influence of the structural features of a society on its cultural norms and rules; the psychological pressures of a crowd on its members; and the effect of socialization and acculturation on the individual. Durkheim distinguished two types of social facts: normal social facts – which, within a society, occur regularly and most often – and pathological social facts – which are much less common. Sociology is the science of social facts. "23, Acknowledging that society, once formed, is the proximate cause of social phenomena, however, a second objection insisted that the original causes of the association itself were psychological in nature. But where the exercise of social constraint is less direct, as in those forms of economic organization which give rise to anomie, their presence is more easily ascertained by their "generality combined with objectivity" -- i.e., by how widespread they are within the group, while also existing independently of any particular forms they might assume. The practical utility of social science would thus be limited to revealing which causes produce which effects, thus offering us the means to produce causes at will. To serve as proof, therefore, the comparison of social facts must control for the stage of a society's evolution; and for this purpose, Durkheim concluded, it will be sufficient to consider societies which one is comparing at the same period of their development: "According to whether, from one of these stages to the next, it displays more, less, or as much intensity, one will be able to state whether it is progressing, regressing, or remaining static. Nonetheless, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this is Durkheim at his worst, and that he is at his best when, where, to precisely the extent, and even "because" he departed from these programmatic utterances. In particular, Durkheim thus endorsed the study of those aspects of social reality which had "crystallized" -- legal and moral rules, the facts of social structure, proverbs and aphorisms etc. As the means to this end, Durkheim again endorsed the method advocated in Bacon's Novum Organum -- namely, to look for decisive or crucial facts which, regardless of their number, have scientific value or interest.16 But which facts are most "decisive" or "crucial"? Where the two phenomena are produced artificially by the observer, we call this method experimentation; and where the artificial production of phenomena is impossible, we compare them as they have been produced naturally, a procedure called indirect experimentation, or the comparative method. A "thing" is recognizable as such chiefly because it is intractable to all modification by mere acts of will, and it is precisely this property of resistance to the action of individual wills which characterizes social facts.  They not only represent behaviour but also the rules that govern behaviour and give it meaning. A similarly reduced significance was granted to the external environment of neighboring societies: first, because its influence can be felt only through the prior mediation of the internal environment; and second, because this would make present social facts dependent on past events. First, when dealing with very general facts (e.g., suicide) about which we have extensive statistical data,34 the sociologist might limit his study to a single, unique society. Durkheim gave two answers, one pointing backward to The Division of Labor, the other forward to Suicide. ).5 The second class of "structural" facts, Durkheim argued, exhibits precisely the same characteristics of externality and coercion as the first -- a political organization restricts our behavior no less than a political ideology, and a communication network no less than the thought to be conveyed. Durkheim admitted that there are no "first causes" in science, and that a fact is "primary" only in the sense that it is general enough to explain many others. But precisely because the constraint of society is the consequence of its natural superiority, there is no need to resort to Hobbes's or Rousseau's "social contract" in order to explain the individual's subservience; and inversely, precisely because this natural superiority derives not from Spencer's individual, but from a social reality sui generis, the constraint it exercises is not merely physical, but also moral and intellectual. Mill's "Method of Residues" suggested that we subtract from a phenomenon what is known already to be the effect of certain causes, the "residue" being the effect of the remaining antecedents; but here again, Durkheim objected to the assumption that a considerable number of causal laws are already known, and that the effects of all causes but one might thus be eliminated in a science so complex as sociology. " This implies that sociology must respect and apply a recognized objective, scientific method, bringing it as close as possible to the other exact sciences. NOTE ON SOURCE: These passages are from Durkheim’s Les Règles de la Méthode Sociologique, published in 1895 in Paris by Alcan Press. Social facts which are "normal," by this criterion, would simply be those found in most, if not all, individuals, within narrow limits of variation. In so far as social facts are culturally transmitted from one generation to another, and individuals do learn and are thus shaped by them, this is unobjectionable; but it is equally true that social facts are themselves constituted by the meanings attached to them by those agents whose acts, thoughts, and feelings they are, and that such subjective interpretations are thus a part of the reality to be "known." Durkheim thus set about classifying social types according to the same principle which had guided that activity in The Division of Labor, and eventually codified it in a rule: We shall begin by classifying societies according to the degree of organization they manifest, taking as a base the perfectly simple society or the single-segment society. Emile Durkheim. "24, Durkheim thus arrived at another rule: The determining cause of a social fact must he sought among the antecedent social facts and not among the states of the individual consciousness. [Excerpt from Robert Alun Jones. Finally, Durkheim warned against an error characteristic of such extended comparisons -- i.e., in attempting to judge the direction of social evolution, the sociologist compares the state of a social fact during the decline of one society with its state during the early stages of its successor. First, the function of the definition is neither to explain the phenomenon in question nor to express its essence; rather, it is to establish contact with things, which can only be done through externalities. But the new science of sociology frightened timid souls and conservative philosophers, and he had to endure many attacks.  Law, language, morality and marriage are all examples of ideals formed through individual thought that have manifested into these concrete institutions which we must now abide by. Finally, these "things" are pre-eminently social things, and Durkheim's method was thus exclusively sociological.  This method must at all cost avoid prejudice and subjective judgment.. The Rules of Sociological Method (French: Les Règles de la Méthode Sociologique) is a book by Émile Durkheim, first published in 1895. When crime is defined by punishment, for example, is it not then derived from punishment? In particular, Durkheim attacked Mill`s postulate that the same effect can result from various causes as one which would render the scientific analysis of such causes utterly intractable.