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of personai observation comes to be a danger rather than a source of illumination.
But further danger arises out of the fact that observation is often not merely a matter of description but involves rather the interpretation of acts. Therefore the impressions gained may differ according to the point of view of the observer. This has frequently happened when untrained observers have reported on customs and ceremonies of primitive peoples. Without comprehension of the real meaning underlying them, their interpretation has been the basis for misleading reports.
Introspection. Another method sometimes employed by the social scientist, to be classed as a subdivision of observation, is introspection or observation of oneself. Sometimes we can clarify our understanding of motives, and thereby reason more accurately concerning cause and effect, if we analyse our own feelings and reactions under similar conditions. As an aid to analysis this procedure may be justifiable, but it does involve the danger of confusing real cause and effect. In concentrating upon mental processes we are likely to place the causes of social phenomena in the mind itself, whereas the mental process is merely a link in the chain, the real cause lying in external conditions. The mental process may be the factor of interest to the psychologist, but the conditions giving rise to the process are of chief concern to the sociologist. Of course causes in social life work out their effects only as they act through the minds of men, and it is for this reason that psychology and social psychology are regarded as necessary preliminaries to the study of social science.
The conclusion with regard to observation of any kind as a source of material is that it is not sufficiently comprehensive and reliable to be used as a basis for primary or fundamental conclusions, and that it should be used rather as a supplemental aid in estimating conditions and in perfecting results.
This brief review of the methods of the social sciences is given not so much to direct the investigator in his work as to enable the reader to evaluate the conclusions of social studies through a comprehension of the methods employed and a recognition of their several defects.
REFERENCES FOR COLLATERAL READING BLACKMAR and GILLIN, Outlines of Sociology, Chs. I and 2. CARVER, T. N., Sociology and Social Progress, Introduction. DURKHEIM, E., Les règles de la methode sociologique. ELLWOOD, CHARLES A., Sociology in its Psychological Aspects, Chs.
I and 2.
Pure Sociology, Chs. 1-4.
THE INDIVIDUAL IDEAL
The Individual and the Social Ideals. In presenting the subject of social progress with which this volume deals, an outline of the general principles of progress will be given first, as the subject matter of Part I., and the remainder of the book will deal with the more specific and detailed factors and influences.
The subject of the general principles of progress may best be approached by taking a comprehensive outlook over the general course of evolution in order to ascertain its goal. Has the nature of evolutionary change been sufficiently evident to indicate its general trend? And can we foresee to any extent its future course? The discussion of these problems properly belongs to the province of social philosophy; but a general perception of the ultimate end of social progress furnishes the student a valuable point of approach to the scientific investigation of social phenomena.
The chief advantage of determining at the start the ideal of social development is that a perspective of social evolution is gained, and just in so far as we are able to apprehend social evolution in its entirety can we adequately judge the place and importance of specific phases of evolution. A comprehension of the broad aspects of social progress tends to enlarge the vision and to provide a rational view point. The social scientist finds himself in the peculiar position of being a part of the phenomena which he studies. And for this reason he of all scientists is most likely to find his judgment warped. If he can isolate himself mentally from the immediate confusions of the social process and contemplate the broader forces at work and the ultimate goal of endeavor, his judgments will be the saner. We are all so likely to over-estimate the importance of immediate interests, or to mistake personal ambitions for important social needs, that a broad vision is indispensible for unprejudiced observations and conclusions. And in the second place, the formulation of an ideal is of advantage in that it provides a general, though not a very exact, standard of judgment for social movements and reforms. Thus if a specific social movement accords with the ideal, it is desirable; if it does not, it is undesirable. The defect of an ideal as a practical standard is that any ideal has to be expressed in such general terms that it does not furnish an absolute criterion for the evaluation of all social movements. Nevertheless the acceptance of one ideal or another may make considerable difference in our attitude towards particular reforms.
The discussion of the ideal in social philosophy has two aspects; the first is concerned with the goal of development for the individual, and the second with that for society. The latter, in other words, discusses the ideal or perfect form of social organization.
Significant Facts of Organic Evolution. The problem of the individual ideal is ordinarily approached from the point of view of the philosopher, who beginning with the nature of man reaches his conclusion by deductive reasoning concerning the ultimate good. Such a discussion however would be beyond the scope of this book. A practical approach to the determination of the ideal may be found in the method of the scientist; that is in analyzing the course of development in the past and from this drawing a conclusion concerning the probable trend of future development. Following this system I shall review briefly some of the most significant features in the evolution of life.
In the course of organic evolution vegetable life appeared first and produced countless varieties both on land and in the water. Leaving out of consideration the relative advancement of the different varieties of vegetable life, it should be noted that every vegetable form has the disadvantage of being rooted to a particular spot. With the appearance of the protozoa, which had freedom of movement, the possibilities of development greatly increased, because animals had the advantages of being able to seek their food and to change their environments. From the simple forms of the protozoa, animal life developed in numerous directions like the branches of a tree. The most important lines are shown on the chart. Omitting the minor branches from which water animals alone arose, there remain the two great lines of annulata and chordata, both of which produced land animals, and both of which developed high forms of individual and social organization. The annulata, represented by bees, wasps, and ants, have developed the most perfect forms of instinctive action; but, with the perfection of social life based on instinct, development seems to have reached its limit. The line of chordata, on the other hand, contains infinite possibilities of development for its highest life is based upon intelligence and reason. In its evolution the point of prime importance was the appearance of the vertebrates, a form of life which provided a bony structure to protect the nerve cords and at the same time permitted ample freedom of movement. Another important step in advance was made when the vertebrates became land animals, for the land offers a more varied environment than the water; and, while it is a more difficult environment, it is also a more stimulating one. Of the land vertebrates, the mammals became the most important, because the relationship between parent and offspring ensured parental care and affection during the prolonged period of infancy and also presented conditions favorable for the development of gregariousness.
Among the mammals a comparatively short line of anthropoid apes outstripped all the others, because of their more delicate physical organization. This physical organization reacted upon the nervous system to develop the brain; and then in turn it served as a delicate instrument to be directed by the brain. The physical structure of the line of apes culminating in man showed several important advantages. The erect posture permitted the hand to become differentiated from the foot and to be specialized as a prehensile organ. The hand is by far the most perfect organ of its kind in the animal kingdom, the nearest rival being the trunk of the elephant. The possession of the hand enables man to perform many acts which no other animal is able to perform; and the use of the hand has been