History and Sociology

Philosophy 7 (28):431 - 445 (1932)
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Abstract

In actual practice the relation between history and sociology is very close. The sociologist of necessity derives his material from the data furnished by anthropology and history. On his side the historian, however eager he may be to confine himself to detailed and close narration of actual fact, cannot avoid reference to problems of causation or assumptions regarding human nature or the general course of human evolution, and so is a sociologist malgré lui. Again, though there are still not wanting some historians, such as v. Below, who deny sociology any status, most writers on the theory and methodology of history have come to regard the two disciplines as Hilfwissenschaften to each other. Closer examination, however, reveals considerable uncertainty and hesitation. This is due, firstly to widely prevalent doubts as to the scope of sociology, with regard to which it is said, not without some exaggeration, the sociologists themselves are not in agreement. It is due, secondly, to the fact that the issues raised involve reference to difficult problems in the theory of knowledge generally, in regard to which, in the present position of epistemology, agreement is hardly to be expected. In this paper I shall attempt firstly to define briefly the scope of sociology and discuss the bearing of my definition upon some recent representative views of the nature of historical investigation. Secondly, in the light of this discussion, I will endeavour to restate the fundamental points of our problem in the hope of bringing out more clearly the main issues involved

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XI.—The Concept of Evolution in Sociology.Morris Ginsberg - 1931 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 31 (1):201-224.

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