Five The Objectivism of the Scientistic Approach
The great differences between the characteristic methods of the physical sciences and those of the social sciences explain why the natural scientist who turns to the work of the professional students of social phenomena so often feels that he has got among a company of people who habitually commit all the mortal sins which he is most careful to avoid, and that a science of society conforming to his standards does not yet exist. From this to the attempt to create a new science of society which satisfi es his conception of Science is but a step. During the last four generations attempts of this kind have been constantly made; and though they have never produced the results which had been expected, and though they did not even succeed in creating that continuous tradition which is the symptom of a healthy discipline, they are repeated almost every month by someone who hopes thereby to revolutionise social thought. Yet, though these efforts are mostly disconnected, they regularly show certain characteristic features which we must now consider. These methodological features can be conveniently treated under the headings of ‘objectivism’, ‘collectivism’, and ‘historicism’, corresponding to the ‘subjectivism’, the ‘individualism’, and the theoretical character of the developed disciplines of social study.