Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/339

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RELATION OF SOCIOLOGY TO BIOLOGY.

Reichert. Formerly in Hesse the pay of parsons was attached to the cure. The result was, that good parishes always fell only to worn-out parsons, deserving, indeed, of promotion, but who could no longer render much service. Berlin is steadily approaching the same state of affairs. It is a pity that German universities cannot be dissolved every thirty years and manned anew! Perhaps some life would then flow into those places of refuge, where the scientific big-wigs rest from the toils of their youthful years!

 

SCIENTIFIC RELATION OF SOCIOLOGY TO BIOLOGY.[1]
By Professor JOSEPH LE CONTE.
I.

THE HIERARCHY OF SCIENCE.—There is a well-recognized scale in the hierachy of sciences. In the ascending order the steps are—mathematics, mechanics, physics, chemistry, biology, and geology. Mathematics deals only with space and time, number and quantity; and is therefore independent of matter and force. All other sciences deal also with matter and force, and are therefore properly called natural sciences, but they individually deal with different forms of matter and different grades of force. For example, the physical sciences deal only with those universal phenomena produced by physical forces; chemistry, in addition to these, deals also with a higher but more limited and special group of phenomena, determined by a peculiar force—chemical affinity; biology, in addition to all the preceding, deals also with a still higher and far more limited and special group of phenomena produced by a still more characteristic force—life.

The order of forces and phenomena-groups given above is, as we see, the order of increasing complexity and of increasing specialty, and therefore is also the order of their appearance in the evolution of the cosmos. There can be no doubt that physical forces and their associ-

  1. The views here presented were first embodied in the form of a lecture in 1859, and published in the Southern Presbyterian Review in April, 1860. They are now rewritten and condensed, the order of presentation entirely changed, and some new thoughts added. I mention this only to show that they are largely the result of independent thought—for they antedate the recent literature on the subject of sociology, as also Darwin's work on "Origin of Species." This representation has been affected by Darwin's work only in one point, viz., the introduction of the principle of survival of the fittest. To two authors only I acknowledge large indebtedness. To Comte I am indebted for the general idea of a scientific connection between sociology and biology. To Agassiz I am indebted for a clear conception of the characteristic doctrines and methods of biology. In fact, all the formal laws of evolution, as now recognized, were announced by him, although he did not accept the origin of species by derivation. For the application of these laws to sociology, and for the mode of presentation, I am alone responsible.