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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/158

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

given us profound studies of imitation and invention; Gumplowicz and Le Bon, of the psychology of races and culture groups; Novicow, of the psychology of conflict and toleration; Le Bon and Durkheim, of the psychology of crowds, of co-operation, and of the division of labor; Baldwin, of the psychology of the social unit—the socius.

Thus it appears that while sharp disagreements of opinion still exist relative to the priority or the generality of one or another of these psychic factors in the social process, discussion has focused about the psychological phenomena themselves. There has been a progressive limitation of the field and an increasing definiteness of conception and hypothesis.

My own effort, if now I may be pardoned for referring to it, has been to restrict the field yet further, and to make the problems of sociology yet more specific. I have contended that these psychological phenomena which have been seized upon for purposes of sociological interpretation are still too vaguely conceived. They are often disclosed to the inquirer in purely individual as well as in social aspects. The lines of inquiry between the study of mind in general, of mind as individual, and of mind as manifesting itself socially in the concert or co-operation of a number of individual minds, have not been drawn with sufficient precision. I have tried to show that the psychological phenomena that Ward, Tarde, Gumplowicz, Novicow, Le Bon, Durkheim, Baldwin, and others have so admirably analyzed as psychic factors of society are social when, and only when, they have certain coefficients, namely: (1) The coefficient of resemblance—that is, a fundamental similarity of individuals to one another underlying and, on the whole, dominating their innumerable differences; (2) the coefficient of awareness or consciousness of resemblance—that is to say, certain feelings, perceptions, or thoughts of resemblance, which give rise to varied prejudices and preferences that facilitate or prevent effective co-operation. Whether this contention of mine will prevail, whether there will ultimately be a general agreement among sociologists that these coefficients of resemblance and consciousness of kind are the true differentia of social phenomena, time and further research must determine.

The second inquiry through which we may learn somewhat of the present position of sociology relates to the development of method. Exact method in social research is statistical. Wherever we can obtain numerical data within the domain of social phenomena, there we arrive at exact or quantitative knowledge. The development and application of statistical methods to social problems has been one of the most striking scientific achievements