Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Scientism Within Sociology

From the beginning sociology has been haunted by the dream of explaining social phenomena by the mathematical and quantitative methods of the physical sciences and thus creating a science of society which will be completely mechanistic and determinist. The path of sociology is strewn with the corpses of defunct systems of “social physics,” “social energetics” and “social mechanics,” and their failure does little to discourage fresh adventures. Such systems have little use for history or for social reality; they content themselves with generalizations that have no significance and with “laws” which are nothing but false analogies.


Christopher Dawson, “Sociology as a Science,” in Dynamics of World History, ed. John J. Mulloy (Washington, DE: ISI Books, 2002), 22. Originally published in Science for a New World, ed. Arthur Thomson and J. G. Crowther (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1934).

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