THE SCOPE OF SOCIOLOGY 501
On the other hand, in historical works there is great care taken to describe and authenticate the pertinent facts. Comparisons figure with the historians rather as distractions, or at most as means of better comprehending the other facts in question. The establishment of a general law upon a sufficient induction is never their end. The sociologists are too abstract and too little positive ; the historians are too concrete, and indifferent to generalizations. Yet the latter only are the object of science. The sociologist sees neither different classes nor types, because he is insufficiently precise. The historian sees them little better, because he is too narrow in his knowledge and tend- encies, because he has not the scientific spirit in the highest sense of the word. The sociologist wants general ideas without trying to found them on facts. The historian hunts for facts, but simply as facts they teach nothing The sociologist needs to learn that there are different social species, that humanity is not a homogeneous abstraction. The historian needs to recog- nize that the body of people which occupies his attention is only an individual, a member of a class, by the side of which there are many others, also interesting, and that the aim should be to know them all.
Because, with rare exceptions, the best works upon ethnology or com- parative sociology do not try to make an induction as complete as possible, they do not succeed in delimiting classes with any precision. Adequate induction and precise limitation of classes imply each other
If there were more general appreciation of the logical value of the expert- mentum cruets, 1 neglected by almost all the sociologists, there would be more serious attention to induction. It is a notorious fact that few sociological argu- ments have weight with critical minds. The reason is : first, the insufficiency of the inductions, in place of which there is mere reasoning by example ; in the second place, there is almost invariable lack of the experimentum crucis. When the sociologist has cited a few examples in support of his hypothesis, he is satisfied. He does not try to extend the research over the whole class in question. He does not ply his explanation with objections. He does not hunt for apparent exceptions to the supposed rule. Consequently he never con- vinces.
.... There is only one means of remedying this situation in sociology. The demands of method should be raised, in order that the work of the dilet- tante may be distinguished at once from that of the genuine scholar. Now, the first advance needed in method a stage for which, too, our science is ripe is the introduction of classification.
The greatest benefit which I anticipate from classification in sociology will be the final and total break with that abstract and philosophical sociology which consists merely of sonorous affirmations. It will aid us to attain this end that" every contribution which will count among genuine experts will be truly a contribution to our positive knowledge. It will be real knowledge,
1 Cf. JEVONS, Principles f Science, pp. 507, 518, and 667.