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Extra info for A History of Classical Sociology (Student's Library)
4. Spencer’s Place in the History of Sociology Spencer‘s contribution to the development of sociology, and the evaluation of his works by succeeding generations have been as contradictory as his creative work. His ideologically important service was his fight against clericalism and defence of the principles of objective investigation of society based on the principles of scientific research. Progressive thinkers of the second half of the nineteenth century were attracted by his confidence in the irresistibility of social evolution, his recognition of the law-governed character of everything that exists, and the seeming rigour and scientific character of his conclusions.
A state of social entropy in the future as a dead, inert equality, like the thermal death of the universe, was predicted from the thermodynamic laws of the constancy of the quantity of energy and the irreversibility of the transfer of energy from a higher level to a lower. The conservative romantics‘ old history-ofphilosophy conception will be readily recognised in this energetics clothing. Many of the theories of mechanists logically infringed the law of the adequacy (equality of number) of subject and predicate.
Carey (1793-1879), author of one of the first developed mechanistic theories in nineteenth-century sociology. Carey‘s principal sociological works, the three volumes of The Principles of Social Science (1858-60) and Unity of Law (1872), shared the monism and principles of Spencer‘s mechanistic evolution. Following the reductionist logic of mechanism, Carey looked for simple laws governing matter in all its forms and identically line for physical and social sciences, differing only in the objects of their application and mode of expression.