Positivism implied not merely an appeal to science but almost reverence for science. The positivist appeal of science was to be seen everywhere. The 19th century saw the virtual institutionalisation of the ideal of science was to be seen everywhere. The great aim was that of dealing with moral values, institutions, and all social phenomena through the same fundamental methods that could be used so successfully in such areas as physics or biology.
Prior to the 19th century, no very clear distinction had made between philosophy and science. But now the distinction between philosophy ans science became very clear. It was also felt that every area of man's thought and behaviour could be put to scientific investigation. More than anyone else, it was Auguste Comte who heralded the idea of the scientific treatment of social behaviour. His book "Positive Philosophy" [original French name: "Cours de Philosophy Positive"] published in six volumes between 1830 and 1842, sought to demonstrate the necessity of the science of man in society. He coined the word "sociology" would be for "man the social being" exactly what biology had already done for "man the biological animal". Compte was not alone to argue and in this manner. He was supported by many thinkers of the day.

New Intellectual and Philosophical Tedencies their Impact on the Development of Social Sciences

The twin revolutions, [the French Revolution and Industrial Revolution of Britain] that took place in the 18th century in Europe let loose a new intellectual and philosophical wave. Intellectual currents in the form of socio-political ideologies were also witnessed. For example, the ideologies of individualism, socialism, utilitarianism, utopianism etc. took their birth. It became fashionable for intellectuals and thinkers to float new ideologies and spread novel ideas.
Of the various types of intellectual influences, the impact of positivism, humanitarianism and evolutionism on social sciences was considerable.


It is often said that social sciences in 19th century are mostly understood as responses to the problem of order that was created in men's minds by the weakening of the old order under the twin blows of the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. The European society was hard hit by these twin Revolutions. THE old social order that rested on kinship, land, social class, religion, local community, and monarchy became very shaky. Thinkers were more concerned about finding ways and means of reconsolidating these elements of social order. Hence the history of 19th century politics, industry, and trade is basically about the practical efforts of human beings to reconsolidate these elements. Thus, it is obvious that the history of the 19th century social thought is about theoretical efforts to reconsolidate them - that is, to give them new contents and meaning.
"In terms of the immediacy and sheer massiveness of the impact on human thought and values, it would be difficult to find revolutions of comparable magnitude in human history. The political, social and cultural changes that began in France and England at the very end of the 18th century spread almost immediately through Europe and the Americas in 19th century and then on to Asia, Africa, and Oceania in the 20th. The effects of the two revolutions, the one overwhelmingly democratic in the thrust, the other industrial capitalist, have been to undermine, shake, or topple institutions that had endured for centuries, even millennia, and with them systems of authority, status, belief and community".*


The beginning of tradition of social sciences has been major developments of the 19th century. Social sciences such as economics, political science, and history though have a long story of their own, could get the recognition as "social sciences" only in the 19th century. Thinkers and writers such as Herodotus [known as the "Father of History"]; Aristotle [often known as the "Father of Political Science"]; Manu, the great law giver; Kautilya, an authority on "Arthashastra", and many others had written good treatises on different areas of social sciences more than 2000 years ago. The political and social atmosphere of ancient Greece, Rome and India also favoured this kind of intellectual exercises. Due to historical reasons these countries could not maintain the same tempo during the middle age. [500 A.D. to 1550 A.D.] But during 17th and 18th centuries the processes of Renaissance, and Enlightenment gave a big impetus to the continuation of the tradition of reasoning. This change in the intellectual atmosphere favoured the development of sciences which came to be called "social sciences".

Sociology as a Social Science

Sociology is one of the members of the family of Social Sciences. As a young Social Science, it has acquired a distinct status for itself. Its importance and practical usefulness are widely recognised today.
Like all other Social Sciences, Sociology also concerned with life and activities of man. It studies the nature and character of human society, and also its orgin, and development, structure and functions. It analyses the group life of man and examines the bonds of social unity.
Sociology tries to determine the relationship and inter-dependence between diferent elements of social life; between moral and religious, the economic and political, the intellectual and the philosophical and the aritistic and aesthetic, the scientific and technological, and non-material and so on.
Sociology also discovers the fundamental conditions of social stability and social change. It analyses the influence of economic, political, technological, cultural and other forces and factors on man and his life. It endeavours to examine the influence of biological and geographic factors on man also. It throws more light on various social problems like poverty, beggary, over-population, crime, unemployment, etc.

The Necessity for Social Sciences

The two global wars of the 20th century have created new anxieties and new fears for the mankind. These wars the world had to bear with before it could properly maintain its balance which was previously disturbed by the process of Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. The scientists, philosophers, administrators, politicians and many other thoughtful observers have been warning human beings for many years of the dangers of the increasing imbalance in their culture. The recent scientific advances in physical sciences culminating in the atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, germ warfare and even the tragedy of Hiroshima, have at last awakened even the innocent people all over the world to the need for comparable competence in social sciences.
The science has shown that it is capable of organising the forces of the atom to cause the destruction of the entire world by a single explosion. It has posed a challenge weather it is possible to organise the forces inherent in human beings and in human society to make such destruction impossible. Hence the necessity of social science. This need, the humanity is obliged to fulfil in mutual self-defence.
It is an irony that the material resources like coal, iron, oil, forest, soil and minerals are better organised than human resources like human energy, intelligence, inherent goodness of man etc.Today governments are busily engaged in armament race. Every country spends millions for inventing or possessing destructive weapons on agencies. But no country spends even a fraction of it to stop such dangerous suicidal works.
Fortunately, realisation has dawned. It is now felt that the imbalance between the physical and social sciences is to be set right. Advancement in physical sciences alone cannot bring man happiness. Social sciences are equally important in promoting human welfare. Social sciences help in understanding and controlling social interactions. "The anthropologists the astronomer of the social sciences", as has been said by the UNESCO in 1954. The U.N.O., UNESCO, W.H.O. are organisations which attempt for the solution of the modern world problems on sociological knowledge.
In conclusion, it can be said that a medical doctor has a basic doctrine that he should prevent disease and save life. Similarly, the social scientist has a basic doctrine that he should prevent friction and violence in human relations and that he should save lives and help in establishing peaceful and self-respecting relations between man and man.

Social Sciences are Less Exact

When compared with the physical sciences, the social sciences are less exact and less precise. The social scientists face many difficulties while making their studies. Scientific method, with all its established procedures, cannot be strictly used in social investigations, because experiments of laboratory conditions are difficult to be arranged in social field. Controlled experiments are almost impossible here. The whole society constitutes the laboratory for social scientist. Science the social scientists have to deal with man who is more complex and everchanging, their studies become less precise though not completely dubious. Complexity if social data, interdependence of cause and effect, problems of objectivity and prediction etc., have made social science comparatively less exact.

Classification of Sciences

It is humanly impossible to for any individual to master the whole of knowledge with all its complexity and diversity.One can only attempt to understand more about one or other branch of knowledge.There are different sciences to deal with different branches of knowledge.These sciences are of two kinds:(i) Physical Sciences, and (ii) Social Sciences.

Physical Sciences

The physical sciences deal mostly with the natural inanimate objects.They are regarded as more precise, exact and less dubious.Ex: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Astronomy, etc.
The physical scientists make use of the scientific method in order to acquire knowledge in their respective fields.They can product experiments to verify the facts. Theories and laws of universal validity are established more easily and accurately in physical sciences. They provide less scope for doubt and uncertainty. Prediction is not only possible, but also easy and accurate. The problem of objectivity can be overcome easily. The relationship between cause and effect is relatively more clear here.

Social Sciences

The term Social Sciencee is often loosely applied to any kind of study which is concerned with man and society. But , in the strict sense, it refers to "the application of scientific methods of study of intricate and complex network of human relationships and the forms of organization desired t enable people to live together in societies". As Young and Mack say, "By social science we mean those bodies of knowledge compiled through the use of scientific method which deal with the forms and contents of man's interaction".Ex: History, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology etc.
To be social is to interact, to participate in group life.All human beings are social. People interact with other people on order to survive. All human beings live in society, that is to say, every person is a member of the same human group or some social environment. The physicist, the chemist, the astronomer and the biologist study the universe, in which we live and the elements of which it is composed, in an attempt to understand our physical environment. Similarly, the social scientist studies the environment in which we live in, and attempts to understand human society and to predict how people will interact in a given set of circumstances.

Science is Knowladge

Science is concerned with knowledge.It refers to the body of knowledge systematically arranged.Knowledge is its purpose and system refers to method that has to be followed for the acquisition of knowledge.Exploring the different horizons of knowledge is not only a challenge but also a matter of great intellectual delight to a scientist.Knowledge is as vast as an ocean.The more a scientist acquires it,the more it remains to be acquired.Not only a scientist is more interested in acquiring knowledge but also he is better equipped to do so
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