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Extra info for A History of Classical Sociology (Student's Library)
3. Organicism and Evolutionism Spencer‘s sociological theory was built around two main principles: the conception of society as an organism and the idea of social evolution. The first principle was connected with the necessity of comprehending the unity of the social whole. He clearly asked himself the following question, whether society was a real ‗entity‘, or only a collective name for designating a certain number of individuals, which had only a nominal existence. Since the nominalist point of view on society was unacceptable to him, he had to admit that society was a special kind of entity that really existed.
In 1853, having inherited a tidy legacy from an uncle, he resigned his post and began the modest life of an independent scientist and publicist. Even after he had attained fame, he refused all official honours. In the early 1860s Spencer made a tremendous effort to create a system of synthetic philosophy that would unite all the theoretical sciences of the time. This work included ten volumes, consisting of five separate titles: First Principles 43 (1862), Principles of Biology (two volumes, 1864, 1867), Principles of Psychology (1870-1872, three volumes, the first edition of which appeared in 1855); Principles of Sociology (three volumes, 1876, 1882, 1896), which was anticipated in 1873 in an independent book The Study of Sociology, and Principles of Ethics (two volumes, 1892, 1893).
Comte professes to interpret the genesis of our knowledge of nature. My aim is to interpret, as far as it is possible, the genesis of the phenomena which constitute nature. The one end is subjective. 7 45 Finally, Spencer posed the question of the relation of the individual and the social whole quite differently to Comte. 2. The Subject-matter of Sociology Spencer did not provide a developed, formal definition of sociology or of its relation to other social sciences. But in The Study of Sociology he paid much attention to demonstrating the possibility of its existence as a science.
A History of Classical Sociology (Student's Library) by Igor Kon (Editor)