The Nature of Sociology

Bernard Moses
1894 Journal of Political Economy  
RECENT writings under the title of Sociology are noteworthy as attempts to define a new science. They are also noteworthy for the diversity of their conclusions. Some of these conclusions fall wide apart. In one view sociology is preliminary to the special social sciences; while in another view it is comprehensive of the subject-matter of all of these sciences. In the presence of this lack of any general agreement as to its proper province, there still appears to be need of elementary inquiries
more » ... concerning the class of phenomena with which it deals. It would not require great boldness to make a somewhat positive statement concerning the proper sphere of the sociologist's activity, since those who wear this title are not agreed among themselves either as to the nature or the province of their subject.' Their zeal, however, is noteworthy, particularly in getting a name. There does not seem to be a great disagreement among them on this point. They only disagree when the question of the meaning of the name is raised. It might, perhaps, be said that the multitude of recent writings under the title of sociology indicates a widespread expectation that a new science is to be created, and also the desire on the part of a large number of persons to be counted among the founders. A reason for this remarkable activity is found, moreover, partly in the fact that neither economics nor politics has hitherto cultivated the whole field which belongs to it, and that consequently there has seemed to be an unoccupied realm of social facts ready to be subjected to new scientific laws. But the most important consideration which has been influential in stimulating the line of thought that has found expression in recent writings on sociology is undoubtedly the impression that previous social studies have not had the desired practical effect; the impression that it is not
doi:10.1086/250255 fatcat:dno46ijmczd7vpmolz6enritx4