1902 Encyclopedia > History > History vs Sociology

(Part 18)

History vs Sociology

It is hardly necessary to add that a broad distinction must be made between history and what has been called the philosophy of history, a term now replaced by the far better one "sociology," invented by A. Comte.

Sociology has the purely scientific aim of investigating the nature and constitution of societies, to discover the laws which regulate their growth and decay, to do in short for them what biology has already done for the animal and vegetable kingdoms. History, while it can never again dispense with the assistance of sociology, remains occupied with the description of the social organism (at a given period) in its ensemble, and the term "descriptive sociology" has been suggested as an improvement on the old on, history.

We may question whether the innovation will be accepted or is needed. The human interest attaching to the story of man’s past fortunes will always provoke the means of its own satisfaction, and there is a little that history, the name and the thing, as the highest form of prose literature, will continue to instruct and console mankind to the remotest generations. (J. C. MO.)

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History - Table of Contents

The above article was written by James Augustus Cotter Morison, M.A.; formerly on the staff of the Saturday Review; author of Life of St Bernard, Mme. de Maintenon, une Etude, Gibbon and Macaulay in the "Men of Letters" Series.

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