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SOCIOLOGY IN ITALY.
THE SOCIOLOGICAL TENDENCY OF TODAY.
To Admit that Sociology began only when August Comte in 1842 invented the name for it, is to admit, using the figure of Montesquieu, "that before a circle is described all its radii are not equal." This hypothesis is at once rejected when I say that, in the history of general sociology, it is necessary to begin with Plato and Aristotle." We see here a fact, more frequently illustrated in science perhaps than in art, that an idea or even a series of ideas may arise without the necessary vocabulary to express them. De Tocqueville was right therefore when he said: "The human mind invents ideas more easily than words."
If we may be permitted then to investigate the history of sociology prior to the existence of the word itself, we must not overlook the name of Giordano Bruno (1548–1600), who, with Descartes (1596–1650) in France, and with Bacon (1561–1626) in England, is one of the three fathers of modern philosophy.
Zeno (362–264 B. C.), was the first to teach the fundamental unity of nature. Giordano Bruno, accepting, this doctrine, protested against the dualism of Aristotle and Plato, which made of matter two distinct principles, naturally separate and diverse. The principal merit of Giordano Bruno is his stupendous demonstration of the monistic (unitario) process of nature, a demonstration which his predecessors had not given, and which constitutes the most characteristic note of his philosophy. On account of his pantheistic conceptions, his theory of
- Montesquieu, Esprit des lois, p. 4.
- Among others see Letourneau, La Sociologie d'apres l'ethnographic, the preface.
- A. de Tocqueville, De la democratic en Amerique. Vol. II., p. 264.
- F. Pietropaolo. Sul calendajo di Giordano Bruno; E. Morselli, La mente di Giordano Bruno; F. Tocco, Opere edile ed inedite di Giordano Bruno.