I . Metatheoretical Issues
Ontological assumptions are intended to address the social reality, or the relationship between the individual and society. By addressing the underlying issues, sociologist attempt to uncover the cause behind the addressed issue. Marx, Durkheim and Weber represent three separate methods of achieving these ontological assumptions. Each provides a different emphasis in their individual content however the end goal remains the same, explaining the relationship between individual and society. Durkheim is presented as a realist, in terms of his presentation of sociological theory. He focused on the individual’s relationship with the visible society. In his writings on suicide, he clearly related the cause of these incidents back to the reader in terms that are not only understandable, but verifiable. The drive to address these issue came from his desire to understand and thus lessen the causes of suicide within an affected group. In his writings on religion, he focuses on the fact that the religion is much more than its common definition. Instead it encompasses wide variety of translations and communities and is capable existing beyond the traditional sanctuary. The individual’s faith becomes a part of a greater collective understanding and thus creates an expanded definition of what it is that they seek to become. Weber takes on the role of the nominalist, in that his theories view individuals as represented by a collective such as a society.