Page images

world, to logic (to which it is related because of their greater or less degree of complexity and speciality), and also to their historical order parallel to their logical order.

The arts concerned with our most general relations with the exterior world, clothing and ornament, the dwelling and architecture, are the simplest. Next come those relating to our senses, beginning with the most general senses, the muscular— the sense of movement and the tactile — from which all the special senses are derived. Harmony of movement was first represented by dances, whose most ordinary manifestations are war dances, pastoral dances, imitations of the hunting of man and of animals, imitations of peaceful occupations and of love. The arts relating to our general sensibility, which is mainly tactile, especially represent the pleasure arising from contact with smooth, soft, and pleasing forms. Then come the arts which are related to our lowest special senses, and which aid in the formation and development of the same — the culinary art, perfumery, etc., which correspond to taste and smell. Moreover, all the special senses are a progressive differentiation of the most general and elementary senses, the muscular and the tactile; they combine the sensation of movement with that of static simultaneity resulting from contact. Hearing and sight are the highest of the senses. They imply movement and touch, which, however, do not necessarily imply sight and hearing. Architecture, sculpture, painting, are the successive forms of art in relation to life. As for music, it is the emotional art par excellence, the highest and the most complex emotional art, in spite of its sentimental diffusion in the nervous system. Literature is the most complex and the most special art, the most precise of the fine arts. Like architecture, it erects the noblest edifices; like sculpture, it creates the most beautiful forms—inorganic, organic, and, above all, human and gives to each a color living and brilliant or somber or gray as the reality; its language is musical. At the same time, literature serves as a medium and opens to us the highest in ideation and in scientific knowledge, first concrete knowledge, and finally abstract. It cmbraces in its descriptions all the sensations furnished by the inferior arts, subordinating them in part to the ideal, just as music does. Music, in spite of its vaguer character, nevertheless also succeeds in represening our most complex sentiments, and in expressing the emotional tonality always inherent even in our most abstract ideas. Literature, with its double instrument, speech and writing, in a word, by means of language, places art in direct relationship with the intellectual aspect of the collective psychology. By means of literature, oral and written language, whose point of departure is gesture and mimicry, and mimetic or picture-writing, whose point of arrival is the apparently purely conventional signs derived from the same, language joins art to science and to the collective intellectual psychology. Language is, then, an eminently social organ. Auguste Comte, in his Static Sociology, has accorded to it an important place, and if, as represented by adverse criticism, I have spoken of it only incidentally in my first two volumes of the Introduction, this was because, in the first place, it seemed to me to be included as a constitutive element in the description, like that above, which I there made of literature; and because, in the second place, to tell the truth, the philosophy of language does not appear to me to be as yet sufficiently elucidated. This second reason is partly, and perhaps wholly, due to the imperfection of my own linguistic attainments, which do not permit me to treat specially this important problem, Besides, from the point of view of the general structure of societies, it is sufficient for me to point out, as I have just done, that literature, both oral and written, is a connective organ joining art to scientific knowledge, which is the essential subject of collective psychology, properly speaking.

So far as collective psychology is concerned (aside from the consideration, too often overlooked, that no social phenomenon, not even an economic phenomenon, is exclusively either material or idealogical, and that, consequently, everything related to sociology, by the very reason of its constitutive factors, is inorganic, organic, and physic), we may accept the grand divisions adopted by Auguste Comte (religion, metaphysics, and positive philosophy) as representing the successive and progressive stages of the co-ordination and the evolution of social psychism. In the social psychism I include oral and written language, which, as I have shown, serves as a means of transition between art and science. But, as we shall see later in the general structure of societies, every phenomenon implies all the others; thus an economic phenomenon always has a genetic, æsthetic, scientific, moral, juridic, or political character. Now, although Comte's law of the three stages may be applicable to the last four classes or phenomena, it is particularly necessary to recognize that it cannot be applied either to economics or genetics or art, which are of a superior generality. We are obliged, then, to reject at once not only what is called historic materialism, but also all biologic sociology ; and in particular psychic sociology. Beliefs, morals, law, and politics are material, as are all other social phenomena; the contrary is conceivable only in the abstract, analytical part of sociology; but in the real social structures, that is to say, in so far as the phenomena are incorporated in organized aggregates, each social fact is at the same time economic, genetic, æsthetic, moral, juridic, and political. This composite character, already apparent in special social organography, will appear to us as a fundamental law, especially in the study of the structure of societies as a whole.

The recognition that social organs are co-ordinated into groups of organs having a common function is, then, a further step in synthesis. Thus, the means of transportation, the banks of deposit, of issue, of credit, and of payment, money, etc., form the circulatory apparatus; the latter combines with the organs of the apparatus of consumption and those of production to constitute the economic system. The last, in its turn, will appear to us in the general synthesis as one of the grand subdivisions of the social structure as a whole.

Thus, in proportion as we advance from the elementary study of social phenomena to their organic co-ordination, which increases in extent and complexity, the hierarchic character of the primary analytical classification gives place to a correlation, and therefore to an equivalence, so that all idea of superiority, and even of anteriority, becomes very attenuated. This is true in the sense that in reality the highest forms may claim a certain



pre-eminence because of their special functions, while the forms called inferior may boast, not only of their utility, but of their fundamental necessity.

The organs, groups, and systems relating to the seven distinct classes of social phenomena represent what are commonly called the social institutions. In the special work which we intend soon to devote to the static theories of the three principal representatives of sociology in the nineteenth century, Quetelet, Comte, and Spencer, we shall have occasion, even while pointing out the immense value of their works, to observe the faults of method which have too often vitiated their conclusions. The organs or institutions of societies are indeed syntheses, but they are also particular syntheses. At present, let us merely point out that Quetelet confines himself too much to the observation of elementary social facts, that is to say, to statistics. Yet, his point of departure is better and his method more exact and more certain than that of Comte and Spencer, although in sociology his theory of probability and of averages is comparatively

His profound statistical studies have saved him from error in synthetic principles, which are insufficiently verified and proved by the two masters of the French and English schools of positive sociology. Although the foundations of his structure are more solid, on the other hand Quetelet almost entirely neglects the study of social institutions- of which the statistical phenomena are only the materials. On the contrary, Comte and Spencer take no account of statistics, of elementary facts, especially economic facts, which are the most important of all. They begin at once with the consideration of social forms or institutions; in the case of Comte, even the latter are sacrificed to the consideration of the ensemble of humanity and are deduced from the same. Between the method of Quetelet, who represents, so to speak, molecular sociology, and that of Comte, who especially represents synthetic sociology, Spencer takes the mean, which, although it is without the qualities of the first, is also without the dangers of the second. It is only by combining, according to a methodical order, their three distinct points of view that we can hope to trace the outline of concrete sociology, then that of the abstract.

The sociology of Quetelet is mathematical, mechanical, and physical; his theory of averages is mainly static; with him, evolution is accessory; with Comte and Spencer, dynamics predominates; in the work of the latter it almost entirely absorbs statics. The sociology of Spencer, in spite of the fact that it may be reduced to the most general laws of energy, is mainly descriptive; that of Comte is mainly abstract, and is wanting in statics or descriptions; thus Spencer is the mean between Comte and Quetelet; they complement each other; however, united they still remain incomplete,

In short, it is necessary henceforth to subject ourselves to the rigor of slow but sure scientific methods. The general statics and dynamics of societies and of humanity should have for their bases correct statistics of all the facts relating to the seven classes of social phenomena. Statistics, whether represented by diagrams or not, show quantitatively the condition and the movement of societies. It is true that, by themselves, they do not permit a perception of qualitative value, except for determined periods and civilizations. Statistics, by itself, is not able

, to construct an abstract sociology, nor is it able to construct any of the particular abstract social sciences which are the foundation of abstract sociology. Nevertheless, the quantitative factor is not a negligible element of the qualitative factor; it is even a first and fundamental condition of all qualitative differentiation. There is no discontinuity between the quantitative and the qualitative aspects; but the first is mainly historical, the second, abstract and universal. The one implies the other; they are not contradictory. From the error of believing the contrary springs without doubt the fact that many of the most eminent economists, demographers, æstheticians, moralists, jurists, and political scientists acknowledge only historical laws. However, this error is less fatal than that of the metaphysicians who venture to conceive of natural laws not founded upon generalization from particular historical laws, and from the elementary social facts which constitute the basis of the latter.

To sum up: In the first place, statistics are necessary for enumeration and quantitative knowledge of all the elements of

« PreviousContinue »