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Additional resources for A History of Classical Sociology (Student's Library)

Example text

The idea of the intrinsically determined natural evolution of human society was given its classical form in the historical and ethnological works of E. B. Tylor (1832-1917). Social evolution began to be regarded in the biologico-evolutionary schools as a continuation or component of biological evolution. Spokesmen of this trend suggested that there was an organic law of the development of social institutions similar to the law governing the growth of organism, that determined the gradual, regular character of their changes, identical for the whole world.

Comte professes to interpret the genesis of our knowledge of nature. My aim is to interpret, as far as it is possible, the genesis of the phenomena which constitute nature. The one end is subjective. 7 45 Finally, Spencer posed the question of the relation of the individual and the social whole quite differently to Comte. 2. The Subject-matter of Sociology Spencer did not provide a developed, formal definition of sociology or of its relation to other social sciences. But in The Study of Sociology he paid much attention to demonstrating the possibility of its existence as a science.

The influence of this linear conception of social evolution was strengthened by the fact of Darwin‘s evolutionary ideas having long had an effect on sociology through the medium of Spencer‘s philosophical evolutionism and its universal ‗hypothesis of development‘ and principle of differentiation. Evolutionary sociology also inherited from social philosophy a metaphysical posing of the problem of the ‗prime movers‘ of history. The positivistically oriented naturalistic trends, which were united by an approach to society as a part of nature governed by its universal laws, endeavoured to make this concept to some extent empirical, and began to explain the development of society by the action of certain determinant factors understood as natural objective forces.

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