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Sociophilosophy to Sociology

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Sociophilosophy to Sociology

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  • June 2012
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Historical Development of Sociology. — A knowledge of the development of sociology is essential to a full comprehension of the subject. It is a history of the speculations touching the origin and development of society, and of the steps in the process by which sociology is becoming not only social philosophy, more or less closely applied to political philosophy, but also a science with its own methods and norms, with its generalizations based primarily upon a wide induction from social facts. In a brief sketch the ideas of the principal contributors to the science may be reviewed, even though an analysis of all their theories and systems of thought is not possible.Although the evolution of society has been in progress since an early period, the development of sociology began at a comparatively recent date. However, wherever society has developed so that there has been leisure for thought, men have speculated about society. Hebrew prophet and Attic sage has each contributed something to social theory, the one emphasizing the purpose of the state from the standpoint of religious idealism, the other stressing the philosophical nature and function of the state. Plans of association, of government, law, religion, or general social order have been set forth by leaders in thought and action during the course of human history. Many of the early suggestions were concrete plans for the practical regulation of a particular social group or nation.- General theories were seldom advanced. Yet these practical experiments were of service in developing a program of social action and preparing the way for more general theories and systems. In the history of sociology there will be found, then, three distinct classes of ideas, namely: (1) those arising from ideal systems set forth by philosophers, (2) those arising from plans of practical social changes, and (3) those coming from the scientists who have through investigation and logical construction laid the foundations of a...

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