Mind and Society: Epistemological Essays on Sociology by Bartholomeus Landheer

By Bartholomeus Landheer

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If the process of civilization were a linear one, it would be obvious that the rational control reaction would increase steadily as is assumed in the theories of progress. In reality, civilization has not progressed in this linear fashion but has moved in waves so that we get in each civilization the recurrence of the basic pattern, namely the transition from a metaphysical to a rational and finally to a rational-metaphysical stage. The recurrence of the long-term reaction in a late civilization seems logical because the decaying civilization passes this reaction on to the early stage of a following civilization.

Groups. OBSERVATIONS ON SOCIAL THEORY Towards tbe end of tbe 19tb and in tbe beginning of tbe 20tb century, tbere raged a bitter epistemological struggle about tbe distinction between tbe exact and the sodal sciences. This conflict bas somewhat subsided ,and tbe opinion bas become prevalent that the difference is one of degree rather than one of an absolute quality. Although this has led to a more unified epistemological approach, certain differences remain which receive perhaps less attention than they deserve.

The theory of evolution did nothing but stress the element of growth but it made the fundamental error to interpret growth, as it was mostly observed by biology, as a biological process and to assurne that we could find the laws to which it is subject. It is quite evident that we cannot find the laws of a process of growth of which we are part as our minds are also a product of this change and cannot understand things today as they were understood a thousand years ago or will be understood a thousand THE MULTIPLICITY OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES 25 years hence.

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