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The Outlines of Sociology

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Pages: 178

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Ludwig Gumplowicz

Excerpt from book: development and reciprocal influence of social elements, i. e., of the syngenetic groups. The only way to prosecute social science is to discover social laws where ethnical or social elements come in contact and to demonstrate their validity. So long as the investigation was conducted in any other way, no attempt to discover or found a social science could succeed. It was recognized that there must be regularity of development and that the laws of development must be demonstrated, were a philosophy of history or a social science to be founded. Comte and Carey insisted upon this repeatedly. But no one knew where to look for conformity to law. Some, like Voltaire, sought for laws of the development of mankind. But if mankind is taken as a unit, it is obvious that development must be either upward or downward: that there must be either progression or retrogression. Rousseau and others accepted the latter alternative. Assuming a primitive happy state of nature, they went on to prove man's growth in corruption. But the greater part, including nearly every writer on the history of civilization, taught the contrary, laboring to show upward progression from original savagery to successively higher forms of civilization. Both parties were wrong: both erred in treating '' mankind '' as a unit of development. The mistake was general: but the position cannot be maintained unless the field of view is materially limited. Generally it is confined to the narrow stream of European civilization running through Greece and Rome to France or Germany. The development discovered here is attributed to mankind as a whole. Comte, for instance, locates a period of polytheism between primitive fetichism and tnodern(!) monotheism and asserts that " it was under its reign that mankind(!) rose to settled ...  

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