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Extra info for A History of Classical Sociology (Student's Library)
As Lenin wrote in this connection, Abstract reasoning about how far the development (and well-being) of the individual depends on the differentiation of society is quite unscientific, because no correlation can be established that will suit every form of social structure. 15 For all his thirst for concreteness, Spencer‘s theory of evolution remained speculative. Empirical facts illustrated the con- 53 ception, but it was not based on them. 16 While outwardly describing the cultural and functional connections of the social whole, Spencer‘s organic model of society did not disclose its real foundations.
He underestimated, moreover, the results of cultural diffusion and mutual influence, since he often depicted the effect of the environment as if a society always lived in complete isolation, as a culturally independent entity. Geographers, who shared many of the mistakes of positivist historiography, also endeavoured to bring out the role of physical factors of the environment in the development of society. One eminent sociogeographer was Karl Ritter (1779-1859), who is considered a founder of modern geography along with Alexander Humboldt (1769-1859).
16 The merit of French social geography was its exposure of the reactionary pseudodeterminism of German geopolitics. The possibilists showed that the latter often constructed evidence post factum (from the historical existence of a certain politico-social phenomenon to the geographical conditions allegedly responsible for it) and against the facts. 19 In our day, when man‘s impact on nature has grown to an unprecedented extent, the significance of the geographical trend in the social sciences is becoming increasingly greater.