Abbildungen der Seite

II. SOCIOLOGY. The Organic Theory of Society.-In an article in the March number of the “ American Journal of Sociology," on the Organic Theory of Society, Prof. A. H. Lloyd, of the University of Michigan, attempts to show how that theory is an outgrowth of the contract theory of society. He considers the two conceptions as nearly co-ordinate

the contract theory emphasizing the origin and support of society, while the organic theory deals with society's inner nature. The two theories are considered as indicative of society's interests at different times. When the contract theory was generally accepted, people were interested more in origins, while now their interests centre more in the character of institutions.

The writer excludes the sociological, biological, and economic concepts of society as an organism, and proceeds to treat the subject as an historical study—that is, of man's development under law and government. He endeavors to show: (1) “That the contract theory, like any theory in history which might be mentioned, has quite outgrown itself, the contract that makes society proving to be only a political philosopher's name for the fundamental lawfulness of nature or—as the same thing—for the natural respect of man, a rational being, for law as such ; (2) Through this deepening of the conception of the social contract the organic and thoroughly naturalistic theory has been evolved, and (3) that-particularly in response to this doctrine of equality among men-the result in both theory and practice has been greater unity of man with himself, as in the character of the individual of to-day ; greater unity of man with his fellow man, notably in the development of a conscious internationalism ; and greater unity of man with nature in industrialism."

“The organic theory,'' he says, “revolves about the conception of the state as original and natural, instead of artificial and supernatural.” To this theory contract is only mediative or definitive, and he then discusses the character of its mediation. “With the rise and evolution of the contract theory, and this is to say, with the rise and evolu. tion of constitutional governments, political life, changing from absolute monarchy to limited monarchy, or even to avowed democracy, has developed very positively along the lines: (1) of personal and national individuality; (2) of national and international organization; (3) of industrial life which has relied upon man's success in identifying himself with nature. These laws of development are inseparable, and mark the threefold mediation of the social contract. From the point of view of political development the discussion is


interesting, but it throws but little light upon the problems with which the sociologist deals.

J. E. H. Dr. Folkmar's book“ Leçons d'Anthropologie" is a series of lectures delivered at the new University of Brussels in 1899. In his preface the author gives some account of the genesis of his ideas, and declares that sociology includes more than phenomena of a strictly social nature; for the purposes of social application, the study of the facts of individual life seem to him to be just as important as purely social data. He therefore adopted the term, “philosophical anthropology” as covering all the manifestations of human life, and as dis. tinguished from the narrower field of physical anthropology. The immense field thus marked out is systematically discussed in the nature and relation of its various parts, with the application of a logic far more rigorous than is usually found in books of this sort. There are more startling statements and conclusions in it than sociological banalities; and the author has been careful to state that his results are tentative rather than definitive. Indeed, the book treats of such a multiplicity of complex problems that this could not well be otherwise. But it is so imbued with the spirit of criticism which approaches the most time-honored institutions and the most venerable doctrines with the same confidence as the current problems of social science, that even the readers who will differ from the author in his most important conclusions will doubtless find intellectual stimulus in such sections as those treating of “Criticism of the Sciences" and “The Race.”

The first two chapters outline the field of “philosophical anthropology," and establish an essentially subjective classification of the sciences and arts it should include. The author attacks the idea of “ science for science sake," and maintains that the rank of sciences should be determined by the directness of their bearing on practical life, by the importance of their contribution to the solution of the problem of human conduct. Man was not created for science, but science for man. Instead of dividing sciences according to their logical or their chronological order, they should be divided according to the needs of human life, that is to say with a view to their relation to the purposes of life and the means necessary for achieving those purposes. The chief task of philosophical anthropology is to apply the data of all sciences to ethical purposes. There must of course be a division of scientific labor, but this division should depend upon the mental nature of the individual scientist rather than upon any cut and dried mathematical partition of subjects. The study of man stands higher than any other study. The progress of his faculties, the consideration of his destiny and the means of realizing that destiny are

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

far more important matters than the microscopic examination of the implements used by primitive tribes. There should be more specializing in the social sciences than in the physical sciences, because they are more complex and difficult, as well as more important.

Sociology is defined as “that part of philosophical anthropology which studies social phenomena. It includes two objects : a science which embraces the so-called social sciences, that is to say, those which study the economic, political, religious and other aspects of social life ; and, in the second place, the art or arts which may be designated as social ethics. Sociology is the science, or rather the philosophy, which studies societies and consociations ; it is the science of association. It is an abstract science in the sense that its principles are true at all times and in all places.” Further on we are told that “all so-called social phenomena are individual phenomena ; they are by their very nature psychical, and can only be explained by the psychology of the individual.” Psychology, as thus understood, differs from conventional psychology.

Philosophical anthropology, and the various sciences it includes, offers the basis for ethics. “What shall we do? Which are the acts that most deserve being accomplished? These are questions which belong to the domain of morals. The only adequate reply we can give to them should be based on a knowledge of man and his history.

Ethics, considered as prevision, necessitates a knowledge and understanding of the action of nature on man, and of wan on nature.

Our habits of thought in this field are so pernicious that it seems absurd to seek a certainty in ethics analogous to that of sciences like physics and mechanics. Yet we can and should reach a certitude of this sort. To demonstrate this will be one of the purposes of this book.” Dr. Folkmar's ethics is thus frankly positivist and determinist. Parts of his book indicate a strong individualistic tendency, while others are scarcely compatible with an ultra-individualistic ethics. We are told, for instance, on page 46, that “all social activities will be explained by the fact that they have a certain utility in the satisfaction of the individual's needs”; elsewhere it is said that “reproduction, from a certain point of view, is more important than nutrition, the life of the species being more important than that of the individual, from the moral as well as the philosophical point of view." Survival is declared to be “the fundamental law and the only possible moral aim,” it is “the final measure and moral criterion of all actions,” and “evolution, particularly evolution in ideation, is the second great explanation and the aim of human life. The essentially biological functions, nutrition above all, are the most important from the moral point of view (p. 42). Co-operation and sociability in general have a secondary moral value and only contribute to the progress of individualism, considered as an end in itself.” Frequently, however, Dr. Folkmar puts the survival of the race above that of the individual. Death is pointed out (p. 235) as one of the individual human activities which may be advantageous to the race; and the law of evolution, always valid for the human race, is not valid for the universe regarded as a whole.

We are justified in doubting whether Dr. Folkmar's positive conclusions have brought us any nearer an ethics “ without sanction and without obligation,” despite his constant effort to express ethical matters with mathematical exactitude. This desire for “exact" expression has led the author to some peculiar results. “The imme. diate future” is defined to mean the next fifteen years. The expression “ certain ” is fixed to mean 95 to 99 cases out of 100; “very probable" means 90 to 95; “probable" means 75; rather likely," 60; “possible,” 50; and “impossible,” less than 50. We are told that we can estimate the moral and intellectual forces of a country by the number of churches, schools and scientific publications.” Is it not forcing matters somewhat to declare that “the fundamental law of all science and philosophy, namely that matter and movement are indestructible leads us as a next step to the command: “Thou shalt not kill ?” (p. 74).

It may be unfair to separate these quotations from the context, and perhaps Dr. Folkmar would be the first person to realize their objectionability. His sound critical judgment makes the negative parts of his book singularly strong. His condemnation of methods in vogue in sociology, methods which are a disgrace to science, is not too vigorous. It is perfectly true that “there is a dangerous tendency to use such words as 'race' and 'nation' in an absolute sense, as if they designated a particular being, an organism possessing definite attributes and faculties.” “In prehistorics many facts which could not sustain examination are admitted as proofs."

It is a logical consequence of the doctrine that complete life is the ethical end, to refer constantly to physiology, biology and psychology, and to attempt the establishment of a hierarchy and harmony in the diverse functions of life, keeping in view their ethical importance. The author divides human activities, therefore, into two large classes, "primary" and “secondary activities, each of which is discussed at length, with constant reference to the ethical end. We have numerous sciences of human activity, but they omit the criterion of practical utility. The psychologist should pay more attention to matters of practical importance, to morbid psychology, hypnotism, to child psychology, for example, which should form the basis of peda


gogy and destroy the senseless routine now in vogue (pp. 107, 112). The economist should cease living in a tour d'ivoire of theoretical abstractions, and help us to diagnose and cure the economic ailments of society. Students of political science should renounce the absurd cult of the constitution, give up their fetichism in connection with the idea of democracy, and adopt an intellectual attitude of criticism.

Much might be said in objection to Dr. Folkmar's cursory discussion of race conflicts, and especially the indefiniteness of the terms

superiority," "adaptability" and "survival;” issue might be taken, too, in his discussion of education, on the question of identity between the complete life, and increased specialization. Is the life of a modern workman, occupied with one narrowly prescribed activity, when compared with the varied labors of the mediæval laborer, a progress toward the completer, more harmonious life of the individual? 1

Totemism.—The recent investigations of Dr. A. E. Jenks among the Ojibwas confirm the position taken by Mr. Henry Jones Ford in the March number of the ANNALS as to the origin and significance of totemism among primitive men. In his story of Ji Shib, although a story, Dr. Jenks narrates accurately and vividly the character of impressions the everyday events make upon the Indian boy as he grows toward manhood. In the preface we are told that “the world of things does not mean to the Indian what it means to us. It is difficult, almost impossible, for him to separate himself from the other, so-called, lower animals." To the animals were imputed all sorts of mysterious powers.

Each person among the Ojibwas, especially the warriors, has a guardian spirit or totem that is responsible for his origin and that guards and aids him during life. As the story goes, on the day when Ji Shib was born a beaver was shot, and its hide was wrapped about the Indian babe. Ever afterward he and it were inseparable-it was his guardian spirit. Again we are told that all Ojibwa boys of a certain age must fast four days and nights in order to dream of some animal or plant which shall be their special guardian spirit. The dreams of Ji Shib seemed to confirm the theory that the good spirits sent the beaver to be his guardian spirit. And he reasoned thus: “Did not the beaver find him at his birth ? Had not the beaver's fur wrapped him during babyhood? The beaver had always kept him, and would he not always keep him?" We thus see the imputation of superior power to the particular animal or plant which was responsible for the origin of the individual and which is his guardian spirit. J. E. H. 1 Contributed by C. W. A. Veditz, Ph. D.


« ZurückWeiter »