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Psychological evolutionism in early American sociology


Psychological evolutionism in early American sociology, represented mainly by L. Ward and F. Giddings concepts, is examined. The premises of psychological school in sociology on the whole and psychological evolutionism in particular are analyzed. The substance of L. Ward and F. Giddings sociological concepts, their views towards the place of sociology in the structure of social knowledge, the society, its structure and evolution, the factors and stages of social evolution are scrutinized. Basic sociological terms formulated by the representatives of this school are analyzed (genesis, telesis, consciousness of a kind, etc.). We are trying to estimate the L. Ward and F. Giddings’ benefit towards the formation of sociological theory and institutionalization of sociology in American universities. The naturalistic and psychological schools in sociology and attempt to find out their strong and weak points are compared. It is concluded that heuristic potential of psychological evolutionism, its methodological arsenal is higher and more effective than natural concepts have. Psychological approach allows forming an adequate idea of such aspects of social life as interests, needs, desires, whereas naturalistic theories biologize and falsify the essence of these phenomena.


psychological evolutionism; society; social evolution; genesis; telesis; consciousness of a kind

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Questions of theory and methodology

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