The Concept "Social Forces" In American Sociology

Section II: Ward's Classification of Social Forces and Those of His More Direct Imitators

Floyd Nelson House
University of Chicago

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"Social forces" as a phase of theory of social causation. For Ward as for other sociologists, the social-forces concept was a part of a broader theory of social causation; it is like a cross-section of social process taken at a certain level; differences in the level taken by different writers account, in part, for differences in their lists of social forces. Social purposes. Ward emphasized strongly the teleological character of human social behavior, and his classification of social forces is really a classification of social purposes. His classification did not change greatly in his successive publications. Classifications of social forces resembling that of Ward in the writings of other American sociologists. Giddings' sociology has no important place for the social-forces concept, but in his early writings there is same recognition of the idea. Ross has experimented with a number of classifications, same resembling Ward's but the latest resembling McDougall's and Small's. Ellwood approaches more and more to Ward's type of classification in his successive books. Rushee has recently published a classification very much like Ward's in General Sociology. Small commented favorably an Ward's handling of the social-forces concept.

It is a well-known fact that the work of Lester F. Ward stands out as that of a pioneer in the history, not only of American sociology, but of sociology in general.[13] Doubtless, popular tradition

( 157) among the sociologists exaggerates his influence, as well as the degree to which he is conceived to have created his sociology out of nothing. But the fact remains that he wrote the first systematic American treatise dealing with what he conceived to be sociology. It is also true that Ward has had more influence upon the development of the social-forces concept than upon any other one phase of American sociological thought. To the present writer there appears to be every reason for believing that Ward was responsible for introducing the term "social forces" as a formal concept into the vocabulary of American sociology, although there is also little doubt that the term has had a mare or less independent origin and career in those other two meanings which we have noted above, and which we shall discuss further in a later section. Because of the place of Ward as a pioneer in the handling of this concept, and because of the rather evident indications of his influence in this respect upon other American sociologists, it will be worth our while to give considerable space to an exhibit and analysis of the principal features of his social-forces doctrine.

Ward's writings, and particularly his Dynamic Sociology, display a thoroughness, even a wordiness, which is characteristic of the time in which he wrote. He not only outlines with care a list of factors which he calls "social forces," but he also pursues into many ramifications the analysis of the mechanisms and processes into which he conceived the operation of these forces to work out. Any one of these analyses, taken in cross-section, might be labeled a a scheme of social forces, since it would represent the factors of social phenomena as seen at a certain stage, or an a certain plane, of their functioning. A careful analysis and comparison of later theories of social forces will show that they differ from one another frequently in just this: that one writer has analyzed the social process at one level, to show the components which are involved, or the elements which are interacting; another writer has made his analysis at another level—much as if one were asked to report on the constituents of a suit of clothes, and he found himself perplexed as to whether he should make his report in terms of chemical constituents, raw materials, kinds of cloth and thread, or kinds of yarns. Ward really attempted to make all possible anal-

( 158) -yses of social phenomena, but he labels the results of only one of those analyses "social forces."

Probably the phase of Ward's theory of social causation which one should examine in order to arrive at an understanding of his social-forces theory is his treatment of the methods of conaton, which is represented in the following excerpts from Dynamic Sociology:

Actions are capable of an important classification according to whether they are produced by the direct or the indirect method of conation . . .The essential difference between purely physical and even the lowest farm of psychic phenomena consists in the power the latter possess through organization of producing effects both at a distance from, and of greater value than, the causes themselves; and owing to the absolute correlation of will with purpose, and vice versa, this is really the fundamental distinction between genetic and teleological phenomena.

In popular language, the operations of the direct method of conation constitute what is called "brute force," or "mere muscle," the crudest form of forces as well as the [east economical. A large part of the operations of the human race, especially in its lowest uncivilized stages, are conducted according to the direct method, and even in civilized races the direct method is largely employed. In the latter case it is important to observe that the adoption of this method is inversely proportional to the complexity of the phenomena which it is necessary to modify in order to gain the ends sought.

[With reference to the indirect method of conation] : The intellectual element, though commonly called a force, is not in reality such. It is not comparable with the other truly psychic forces. These later are obliged to do the real work that is performed, the same in the indirect as in the direct method. The intellect only guides them in such a manner as to secure the maximum results. It also brings other natural forces to their aid, and thus increases the results. The general process by which all this is done is that of invention, the product is art, and therefore the faculty may be called the inventive faculty, and the phenomena produced artificial phenomena.[14]

To paraphrase Ward's interpretation of his social-forces concept in the language of a more recent psychology, he conceives that the distinguishing mark of animal behavior, as compared with mere physical phenomena, is conation, that is, activity which has its immediate origin within the organism, in motive, impulse, or tendency, which is, in a sense at least, self-generated by the organism. On the human and still more on the social plane, the distinguishing phenomena are phenomena of indirect conation, or teleo-

( 159) -logical phenomena, that s, activities co-ordinated with reference to purposes. In teleological phenomena the motive, or desire, found within the organism supplies the end, and therefore the significant element of force standing in a causal relation to the phenomena. Therefore, he concludes that it is appropriate to consider the desires as the social forces. The more important steps in his reasoning are further embodied in the following passages from Dynamic Sociology:

Teleological phenomena are such as emanate from animate organisms endowed with feeling; and as feeling is the initial step in the entire series of psychic phenomena, the domain of teleology is strictly co-extensive with the domain of mind. The basis of action, as distinguished from motion, or movement, is the existence of desire residing in the animate organism. Desire is also the only motive to action, but, although all action proceeds from desire, all desires are not followed by action. This, however, is always in consequence of a conflict of simultaneous desires involving for their satisfaction the performance of incompatible actions, unless thus antagonized and equilibrated, every desire results in the action required for its satisfaction . . . . The idea involved in the term volition is not distinguished from this conception of desire, except that it properly connotes this plurality of desires, and represents the effect of the dominant one in producing action.

Teleological phenomena are consciously produced . ... [since they are accompanied by feeling, which is a form of consciousness, F. N. H,]. Teleological phenomena involve purpose Every psychic action has for its raison d'tre some object, or end, which . . , the conscious organism desires to secure. It is proper to call this end the cause of the action

We recognize at the outset that all teleological phenomena consist in efforts to attain the ends, or purposes, of the motor impulses. It by no means follows that, because the action is certain to result from the motive , the end is therefore certain of attainment. The only certainty is the effort. . . .

In the second place, it is not universally true that the action, if successful, will secure the end.

The term conation will be used in this work to represent the efforts which organisms put forth in seeking the satisfaction of their desires, and the ends thus sought will be designated as the ends of conation . . . The general end of conation is ... , the satisfaction of desire. . . . In man . . . , the satisfaction of desire in general, which in each particular case is attended with, or rather consists of, pleasure, acquires, in consequence of the highly derivative and greatly varied character of his desires, a distinctive name, not applicable to animals, and is called happiness. As far as the direct purposes of the sociologist are concerned, therefore, the ultimate end of conation is happiness.[15]

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With the foregoing as introduction, and as exhibit of Ward's understanding of the place in sociology of his social-forces concept, we are ready to examine the particular scheme of social forces which Ward advocated at the time he wrote the Dynamic Sociology. We shall compare it presently with the slightly revised schedule which he presented nearly two decades later, in the Pure Sociology:

The social forces are:

Essential forces:

Preservative forces

Positive, gustatory (seeking pleasure)

Negative, protective (avoiding pain)

Reproductive forces:

Direct. The sexual and amative desires Indirect. Parental and consanguineal affections

Nonessential forces:

Aesthetic forces

Emotional (moral) forces Intellectual forces.[16]

With reference to the foregoing scheme, Ward makes in a later chapter the following comment:

When the true nature of the Social Forces .... is adequately grasped, the physical, physiological, and ethical problems are already solved. The only problem remaining is the intellectual problem. The former forces being wholly analogous to all the other natural forces which intelligence has turned to human advantage, it must next be seriously inquired how these, too, are to be turned to human advantage. Since the forces are homogeneous, the failure thus far to treat them all alike must be due to some defect or peculiarity in the intellectual faculty. Physical action, physiological action, and ethical action are fixed by invariable laws. They are like the air, the water, the electric and magnetic currents, or thermic, luminous, and actinic currents. Before intelligence they are passive; they do the bidding of the intellect. Placing the ethical forces upon this footing gives meaning to the otherwise meaningless words, "Moral Science." And as we investigate all other classes of forces with a view to controlling them, so must this class be investigated with this view.[17]

At this early date, Ward seems to have had a prophetic insight into the importance which the question of instinct or "original na-

( 161) -ture" was later to assume in sociological and psychological thought and debate. Thus in the following passage we find him making specific recognition of the desirability of studying human nature, and venturing a tentative enumeration of the innate qualities of the human species as he saw them, with the assumption that these inborn qualities were the raw material out of which the desires which he postulated as social forces were shaped.

It is the regularity of the laws of human action that furnishes the hope of sociology. One of the principal branches of social science will be that now popularly designated by the phrase "human nature," i.e., a logical classification of the motives of human actions, with a view to referring all of the most prominent actions which men perform to their appropriate heads.[18]

Social and moral desires are founded upon three primary elements: I, affection, arising out of family instincts, parental, filial, and fraternal; 2, reason, the rational belief that it is more advantageous to co-operate and forbear than to pursue the opposite course; and 3, sympathy, the painful sensation which results to high nervous organizations at the sight of suffering in others.[19]

To be sure, Ward's attempts at psychologizing, here as in so many other passages, stimulate decidedly humorous reactions in anyone reasonably familiar with recent developments of that science; but at the time when he was writing, this adumbration of the instinct approach to the explanation of human behavior may be regarded as a real contribution to sociological thinking.

At the time he published his Pure Sociology, two decades later, Ward's theory of social forces was still practically the same. He was not, apparently, a thinker who was easily influenced by the currents of thought of his time, after he had once selected for his own use elements from the literature which was current when he first began to write on sociology. There were indeed certain changes in detail. Thus we find that, while he retained the same categories as ultimate subdivisions of his scheme of social forces, he had changed the terms in which he indicated the basis of his classification.

( 162)

The social forces are:

Physical forces (function bodily) :

Ontogenetic forces:

Positive, attractive (seeking pleasure) Negative, protective (avoiding pain)

Phylogenetic forces:

Direct, sexual

Indirect, consanguineal

Spiritual forces (function psychic):

Sociogenetic forces:

Moral (seeking the safe and good)

Aesthetic (seeking the beautiful)

Intellectual (seeking the useful and true) [20]

In the "genetic" justification suggested for this classification, especially in the third category, "sociogenetic forces," there is a dear perception of the same truth which Small later stated in connection with his development of the "interest" concept: that the forces which are immediately significant for the social process have their origin in that process.

In another passage in his Pure Sociology, Ward states specifically the principle we have mentioned above, that different classifications of social forces are possible, according to the point of view which is assumed, or the plane on which the inventory is taken.

There are many ways of classifying social phenomena. Nearly all the systems considered in Chapter II require classifications of their own, and the different classifications, like the different systems, all have their merits. Our point of view is that of regarding sociology as a true science, and the principal characteristic of a science is that it is a domain of natural phenomena produced by a special class of forces. The forces producing social phenomena are the social forces, and taken together they constitute the dynamic agent.[21]

We shall examine further under another heading the main trend of the theory of social causation advanced by Giddings in his various writings. Giddings was in his earlier work a clear example of the sociologist of one idea. His interpretation in terms of like-mindedness and consciousness of kind is characteristic of a type of sociological thought which was common in the first three

( 163) decades after 1885, when sociology was still almost completely in the formative stage; it was of the type which seeks, in effect, to discover some one social force which will explain all group phenomena. However, it is of interest in this connection to note that in his Principles of Sociology, his earliest book, Giddings made concessions to the interpretation of social behavior in terms of a multiplicity of human-nature forces which, if more fully emphasized in his further explanations, would have classed him with Ward as regards his doctrine of social forces. The following selection displays this tendency, and at the same time shows some appreciation of the conception later to be emphasized by sociologists,[22] that the social forces are, as Ward had already suggested, "sociogenetic."

The motive forces of political life, as of economic life, are the desires of men, but they are no longer merely individual desires, and they are no longer desires for satisfactions that must come for the most part in material forms. They are desires massed and generalized; desires felt simultaneously and continuously by thousands, or even by millions of men, who are by them simultaneously moved to concerted action. They are desires of what we may call the social mind in distinction from the individual mind, and they are chiefly for such things as national power and renown, or conditions of liberty and peace.[23]

Giddings makes no systematic use of a list of fundamental and presumably universal categories of social forces, such as we find in the sociologies of Ward and others. In chapter , Book IV, of his Principles, he states a doctrine of social values and valuations which resembles considerably the Thomas attitude-value, and which, like the latter tends to preclude any summarization of social factors or forces into a few permanent categories.[24] In fact, a basic distinction between the doctrines of Giddings and those of Thomas and some other sociologists lies in the more complete un-

( 164) willingness of the former to attempt the formulation of any such categories. However, in the following passage from the Principles we find an approach to the statement of general social forces:

[The passage is taken from the author's discussion of tradition, He has said that "Tradition is ... the integration of the public opinion of many generations," thus probably overstressing a rationalistic conception of the nature of tradition.] The whole body of tradition s differentiated into particular traditions which correspond to the varied interests of life. The primary traditions are: the economic, or the tradition of utilization; the juridical, or the tradition of toleration; the political, or the tradition of alliance, homage and obedience. These primary traditions are the record of experiences of the tangible world. The secondary traditions are: the animistic or personal, the aesthetic, and the religious. They are the record of impressions of an intangible world; a world of personal consciousness, and of the shadows, images, and echoes of tangible things. The tertiary traditions are the theological, the metaphysical, and the scientific. They are the record of conceptual thought.[25]

It can readily be shown that the classification of "primary traditions" is by no means the same thing, in content or in intention, as the classification of desires taken as social forces which has been attempted by Ward and by same of those agreeing more nearly with Ward. And yet, there is apparently a similarity of purpose. Giddings seems to have yielded here in so far to the feeling which ail sociologists, as well as all other scientists, have bad, that in order for the study of a certain field to become scientific, it is necessary that the phenomena of the field in question should be brought under certain general classificatory categories, so that the differences in the concrete phenomena can be explained by reference to deviations in degree—in the case of these categories suggested by Giddings it would be in qualitative content, also—of the different categories chosen, from one case to another.

The history of Ross's sociological writings displays an interesting series of shifts of viewpoint and conviction with respect to the value of the social-forces concept. If we are to classify him by his latest scientific volumes, he is to be placed with Small as an adherent of the "interest" variant of the social-forces concept, as we shall see in a later section. In the sequence of his writings from

( 165) his Social Control to his Moot Points in Sociology,[26] however, he seemed to be in process of evolution in his thinking toward the Ward theory of desires. In Social Control, Part I, he treats sympathy, sociability, the sense of justice, and the feeling of resentment somewhat as other writers have dealt with supposedly fundamental and universal human nature tendencies, i.e., as social forces or desires. The first two of these he seems to think of as inborn; the latter two he conceives to be more or less inevitably developed out of inborn traits in the course of the social process. He believes that both sets of factors vary widely in different groups, especially between different culture groups such as tribes and nationalities. At most, he does not make as specific use of a set of categories of desire, interest, or wish, as he does later, in his Foundations of Sociology and in his Principles of Sociology. However, in Social Control, there is a suggestion in the following passages of the conception of desires as social forces:

It is impassible to distinguish impulsive desires from those which follow upon a judgment of approval. In die appetites for food, sex, and sleep, and the passions of love, jealousy, and revenge, the impulse precedes any imputation of worth ...But there are less imperious desires that wait upon judgments of approval. When not under the spur of the appetites and passions, man shows himself a reasonable being by directing his endeavors toward "goods," i.e., objects which his judgment tells him are causes of pleasure, When his vision is undimmed by the mounting of hot desire, he selects values as the goal of his endeavor. In his reflective moments he reviews the possible experiences that beckon to him and passes upon them various judgments of approval or disapproval, attaches to them different degrees of esteem. As are these valuations, so will be his choices and conduct. Now this habit of letting "I would" wait upon "I approve" gives society a new opening in its struggle with the anti-social man. Can it not persuade him to adopt its valuation of the goods of life? [The thought is expanded in the chapter of which the foregoing are the opening words.—F. N. H.] [27]

By the time he published his Moot Points in Sociology, in the years 1903-4, Ross had swung around to an outline of social forces very much like that of Ward, though more elaborate. After a critical review of a number of classifications, he proposes the following:

( 166)

The desires may be grouped into natural and cultural, the former being present even in natural men, the latter emerging only after man has made same gains in culture. The natural desires may be grouped into

a) Appetitive. Hunger, thirst, and sex-appetite

b) Hedonic. Fear, aversion to pain, love of ease, warmth, and sensuous pleasure

c) Egotic. These are demands of the self rather than of the organism. They include shame, envy, love of liberty, of power, and of glory. The type of this class is ambition

d) Affective. Desires that terminate upon others: sympathy, sociability, love, hate, spite, jealousy, anger, and revenge

e) Recreative. Play impulses, love of self-expression.

The cultural desires, which are clearly differentiated only in culture men, are-

a) Religious. Yearning for those states of swimming or unconditioned consciousness represented by the religious ecstasy

g) Ethical. Love of fair play, sense of justice

h) Aesthetic. Desire for the pleasures of perception, i.e,, for enjoyment of the "beautiful"

i) Intellectual. Curiosity, Iove of learning, of knowing, and of imparting [28]

In a later paragraph, and with reference in part to the foregoing passage, Ross continues:

There are certain huge complexes of goods which serve as means to the satisfaction of a variety of wants. These are Wealth, Government, Religion, and Knowledge. In respect to these the various elementary social forces therefore give off impulses which run together and form the economic, religious, political, and intellectual interests, which constitute in effect the chief history-making forces.28

In the opening chapter of Moot Points, Ross had made the following observations, which are at the same time explanatory of his feeling regarding the social-forces concept, and expressive of a Line of thought which became more and more emphasized in later American sociology—the thought that the soda! process is to a Large degree a process which generates in itself causal factors and conditions. In other words, the immediate social forces include among their number forces which are generated in the operation of the social process, if indeed there are any other social forces.

( 167)

Suppose that the desires that constitute the springs of human action and the causes of social phenomena resolved into certain basic cravings, each distinct from the others in its object, and each stimulating men to a particular mode of activity in order to satisfy it. Suppose, furthermore, these specific desires never crossed or modified each other and were intractable to the unifying control of any world-view or ideal of life. Suppose, finally, that each craving, or set of cravings, operating on a large scale, generated in society certain appropriate dogmas, creeds, activities, and institutions, which remained separate from and unmixed with the collective manifestations of other cravings. Religious phenomena would then be unalloyed by ethical or political considerations. The forms of the family would be unaffected by industrial changes. The fine arts would run their course heedless of revolutions in the sphere of ideas

The mere statement of the requirements to be fulfilled in order to assure the sovereignty and equality of the special social sciences is a sufficient answer to such claims. Each is not the special field of action of certain impulses. So far as specific cravings exist, they react upon and modify one another, they lie under the empery of the accepted world-view or ideal of life.[29]

Professor Ellwood is one of the recent contributors to sociological literature who has built more or less definitely upon the fundamental concept of social forces as laid down by Ward, though of

course not without modifications. In his Sociology n Its Psychological Aspects he has a stimulating chapter on the "Theory of the Social Forces," in which he discusses at length the claim that psychic factors may be rightly counted as social forces, and concludes that for all practical purposes they may be so counted. He reviews the classifications of Ward and Small, and concludes that no classification of social forces can be made which will be completely satisfactory, whether from the point of view of either end or purpose, or of inborn nature of man, because of the complexity of human nature and the expanding character of the social process. He makes the tentative suggestion, however, that the psychic factors of social phenomena may be classified under three headings: (1) primary forces or impulses, which may be subdivided into original and acquired impulses; (2) secondary forces or feelings, subdivided as to pleasantness or unpleasantness, or according to their attachment to instincts or habits; (3) tertiary forces or intellec-

( 168) -tual elements. Elsewhere in the volume are found the following pertinent comments upon the psychic factors:

In the language of physical science, a "cause" has come to mean the invariable, necessary, and equivalent antecedent of a consequent which we call the "effect." Now, the "stimulus" in psychology is not the equivalent of the "cause," but rather the opportunity for the discharge of energy; and the "response" is not the mechanical effect of the stimulus, but is always teleological, that is, directed to same end. Hence, it is incorrect, from the standpoint of a physical science, to speak of the stimulus as the cause of a response, or of a bodily state as the cause of a mental state. Now the connections of individuals in society are almost entirely those of mental interaction or stimulus and response. Men influence each other, act upon each other, through acting as stimuli to each other. Hence the ward "cause" must be used in the social sciences in a sense different from its use in physical science; for, from the standpoint of physical science, there are no causal connections between the minds of individua1s. [30]

The desires are complexes of feeling and impulse with the knowledge of the object which will satisfy the impulse.[31] They are most manifest in connection with the instinctive impulses; hence the close connection of desire with instinct. An impulse which springs from an acquired habit may, however, express itself in desire, though usually not of the strong, passionate sort. That the desires are expressions of habits as well as of instincts is shown by the fact that the desires of men differ greatly, but the instincts of all are practically the same . . .

Although the desires are extremely complex mental states, they occupy a position of fundamental importance in the social life. The relations of individuals may be regarded as more or less direct expressions of their desires. For this reason, Professor Ward and other sociologists have claimed that the desires are the true social forces.[32]

By the time he published his Introduction to Social Psychology, five years later, Ellwood had changed his opinion considerably, to the extent that he was prepared to present a more definite classification of the "active factors in association," under which subtitle he submits the following remarks and outline:

It has been a tendency, among social psychologists, to recognize only the psychic factors as truly social, and even among these only the acquired psychic

(169) traits which are the result of cultural evolution, since these alone can be considered as haying originated within human society. But the scientific question which concerns us now is not haw forces originate, but what factors da we have ta take into account in explaining psychologically the social life of mankind? As soon as we put the question in this form and take the evolutionary point of view, we see that the physical factors, such as climate and race, loom large. Indeed, over long stretches of time, the geographical factors of climate, food, soil, and the biological factors of variation, heredity, and selection, seem the significant factors. At any given moment, however, the influence of these physical factors expresses itself in the social life through the impulses, feelings, and ideas of individuals; for it is only through these psychological elements that any kind of social life is maintained, as we have already said. Hence the social psychologist may emphasize the psychic factors, provided that he keeps in the background environmental and biological factors as the basis upon which the psychic processes take place and which originally conditions and modifies them.

As original active factors in human association, we must, then, recognize the following:

   I. The physical factors:

   a) Geographic environment, including climate, food, soil, natural resources, topography, etc.

   b) Biological forces, heredity, variation, selection, etc.

   II. The psychical factors:

   a) Impulses, both hereditary and acquired (instinctive and habitual)

   b) Feelings, both hereditary (emotions) and acquired, and both pleasant and unpleasant

   c) Intellectual elements, including sensation, perception, and ideation (conception, imagination, reasoning, etc.)

Derived, complex factors, compounded out of the simple, original factors, are very numerous, and have never been classified satisfactorily from a psychological point of view. Thus we have, as a result chiefly of the operation of man's intellect upon physical nature, the whole technology of civilization, such as roads, houses, tools, and machinery. This results in a new artificial physical environment for man, even mare important for his social life than the geographic environ merit. Compounded mainly out of feeling and intellectual elements are beliefs; out of feeling and impulses are desires; out of feeling, impulses, and intellectual elements are interests. [Quotes Small's classification of interests, on the whole with approval.][33]

The more recent sociological treatise which accepts, on the whole, Ward's notion of the desires as social forces is Professor

( 170) Bushee's Principles of Sociology. In that book, after reviewing with approval Ward's statement of his doctrine, and adding some comments of his own, the author presents the following section:

Classification of the desires.—Progress therefore originates hi the satisfaction of desire; but continued progress is not a matter of one desire nor of a few desires, but of a multitude of desires succeeding one another. If the satisfaction of a few inherited instincts were the only motives for activity, progress would soon cease, for actions would become habitual and unvarying. The situation would 'be the same as that of adaptation to a single environment. Continued progress requires a changing environment and successive adaptations; and the chief method of producing the change is through the multiplication of desires. Although specific desires among progressive peoples came toe indefinite in number, they may all be reduced to a few fundamental types. And an analysis of the primary desires will be of assistance in making a systematic arrangement of complicated social processes and institutions. I have made the following classification, not so much with the intention of analyzing all the instincts and desires which may be considered fundamental, as to get at those basic desires out of which great social institutions and activities arise.

I. Physical

a) Desire for self-preservation b) Desire for race continuance

II. Mental

a) Desire for approbation

b) Consciousness of life

Expressed through

The desires may be classified conveniently according to man's twofold nature. Man is first an animal, and in common with other animals possesses certain inherited instincts essential to the well-being of the species. But man is also a thinking and reasoning animal, and he possesses other desires specially characteristic of his superior intellectual faculties, which are either lacking or rudimentary in animals of inferior intelligence. The former may be classed as the physical and the latter as the mental desires [34]

We cannot close this discussion of the social-forces doctrine as it was originally laid down by Ward, and perpetuated by others along lines more or less consistent with those he first mapped out,

( 171) in any better way than by quoting at same length from Small's General Sociology the passage in which is embodied the author's most important critical estimate of that doctrine:

Social forces.—No treatment of this subject is so full and clear as that of Ward . . . . We must guard at the outset against an illusion that has exerted a confusing influence at this point. There are no social forces which are not at the same time forces lodged in individuals, deriving their energy from individuals, and operating in and through individuals. There are no social forces that lurk in the containing ether, and affect persons without the agency of other persons. There are to be sure, all the physical conditions .... that affect persons just as they affect other forms of matter. So far these are not social forces at all. They do not get to be social forces till they get into persons, and in persons take the form of feelings which impel them to act upon other persons, and exert themselves as external stimuli upon otherwise inert persons [35] In either case social forces are personal influences passing from person to person, and producing activities that give content to the association.

The concept of social forces was never challenged so long as it was merely an everyday commonplace. When it passed into technical farms of expression, doubts began to be urged. If anyone in the United States had questioned the existence of Mrs. Grundy fifty years ago, he would have been pitied and ignored as a harmless "natural." Social forces in the form of gossip, and personified as Mrs. Grundy, were real to everybody. But the particular species of social forces which Mrs. Grundy represented were neither more nor less real than the other social forces which had no names in folklore. Persons incessantly influence persons. The modes of this influence are indescribably varied. .... The simple fact which the concept "social forces" stands for is that every person acts upon and is acted upon in countless ways by other persons with wham he associates. These modes of action and reaction between persons may be classified, and the more obvious and recurrent among them may be enumerated. More than this, the action of these social forces may be observed, and the results of observation may be organized into social laws [In re Ward's identification of desires as the social forces:] But we have gone a step beyond the desires, and have found it necessary to assume the existence of underlying interests.[36] These have to desires very nearly the relation of substance to attribute, or, in a different figure, of genus to species. Our interests

(172)     may be beyond or beneath our ken; our desires are very strong and clear . . . .   
The implicit interests, of which we may well be very imperfectly aware, move us to desires which correspond well or ill with the content of the interests from which they sprung. The desires that the persons associating actually feel are practically the elementary forces with which we have to deal. They are just as real as the properties of matter. They have their ratios of energy, just as though they were physical forcesThe one consideration to be urged at this point is that the concept "social forces" has a real content. It represents reality. There are social forces. They are the desires of persons." [37].

[To be continued]


  1. It seems practically impossible to decide an the basis of their own recorded testimony how much and in what ways the earliest teachers of theoretic sociology in the United States were influenced by Ward's Dynamic Sociology. Indeed, it is doubtful how much reliance is to be placed upon one's awn impressions concerning the sources from which he has received the ideas which he uses and defends; and this is about as true of college teachers as of other classes of people. The fact, however, that Dynamic Sociology antedates by so many years all other systematic American treatises gives reasonable ground for believing that it must have exerted a shaping influence upon the concepts and the vocabulary of other sociologists in this country. The material which is brought together in this paper appears to the writer to afford substantiation for such a belief as regards the term "social forces"
  2. Op. cit., II, 93-102 passim.
  3. Dynamic Sociology, II, 89 ff.; 93 ff.
  4. Op. cit., I, 472.
  5. Ibid., II, 311.
  6. Op. cit., II, 335.
  7. Ibid, I, 395
  8. Pure Sociology, p, 261.
  9. Ibid., p. 256.
  10. Cf. the discussion of Thomas to be given in a later section of this paper.
  11. Op. cit. (189б), p. 37.
  12. To be sure, Thomas did explain the attitudes in terms of wishes, and the wishes in terms of four fundamental cravings or desires; but it can be maintained with a show of reason that his doctrine of the attitudes does not readily or logically lend itself to explanation by reference to a short list of universal human-nature forces.
  13. Op. cit.. 141.
  14. E. A. Ross, "Moot Points in Sociology," A.J.S., Vols. VIII, IX, and X.
  15. Op. cit., P. 325.
  16. Op. cit, chap. v.
  17. A. J. S., VIII, 767-68.
  18. Ellwood, Sociology in Its Psychological Aspects (1912), pp. 7б-77
  19. Professor Ellsworth Faris, elaborating upon suggestions made by W. I. Thomas, has defined "wish" in practically these same terms,
  20. Ellwood, Оp. cit., p. 117,
  21. Ellwood, Introduction to Social Psychology (1917), pp. 75-77.
  22. Op, cit., pp. 58-59. Cf. the selection from L. L. Bernard's review, in Sec. VII, to appear in the American Journal of Sociology for March, 1926.
  23. The allusion to "inert persons" in this passage, and what it implies, would be vigorously combatted by many contemporary social psychologists, particularly by Dewey, who holds that action is primary, and that all that external pressure can give is change of direction. The point is, however, not an important one for the argument of the passage in which we are here chiefly interested.
  24. Cf Section V of this paper, to appear in the American Journal of Sociology for January, 1926.
  25. Small, General Sociology, pp. 532 ff. The greater part of this passage is quoted in Park and Вurgess, Introduction to the Science of Sociology, pp, 452-53

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