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jAnd as to Comparison: there was a form of this procedure, viz. the comparison of " the different consecutive conditions of humanity,"— "the historical method" in the true sense of the term,—so fruitful in sociological enquiry as to constitute the distinguishing characteristic of this particular branch of science.

To this social science of his vision Comte applied the distinction he had already applied to the preliminary sciences, between the static and the dynamic.1 The difference between " the fundamental study of the condition of existence of society " and " the study of the laws of its continuous movement "was so clear, in his judgment, that he could foresee the ultimate division of Sociology into Social Statics and Social Dynamics. But to attach, in the formative stage of the science, any very great importance to this convenient distribution of the subject matter would, he thought, be positively dangerous, since it would tend to obscure "the indispensable and permanent combination of the two points of view."

Comte's attitude towards political economy, as it was then taught, was the natural result of his views as to the proper method of creating a science of society.3 As part of the general movement of revolutionary thought, it had had a "provisional" function, and had rendered a transitory service in discrediting the industrial policy of the ancien regime after that policy had become a mere hindrance to progress. It had prepared the way for a sound historical analysis by calling attention to the importance of the economic side of life. Its practical utility, however, was by this time a thing of the past: and it was now an actual obstacle to social advance. Like the rest of the revolutionary philosophy, it now tended to prolong and systematise social anarchy. It led people to regard the absence of all regulating intervention in economic affairs on the part of society as a universal dogma; and it met all the difficulties arising out of ipodern industrial changes, such as "the famous and immense economic question of the effect of machinery," with "the sterile aphorism of absolute industrial liberty." And these practical consequences were but, in Comte's judgment, the consequences of its underlying scientific defects. From this sweeping condemnation Comte excepts Adam Smith, from whose example, according to him, the creators of the contemporary political economy had completely departed. But of the contemporary political economy he declares that it was fundamentally metaphysical: its creators had no real understanding of the necessity and character of scientific observation. Its "inanity" was proved by the absence in economic literature of the real tests of all truly scientific conceptions, viz. continuity and fecundity. Its sterile disputes on the meaning of terms such as value, and utility, and production were like the worst debates of medieval schoolmen. And the very isolation of economics from other fields of social enquiry which economists had sought to justify was its decisive condemnation.

1 Ibid. pp. 318 seq. * Ibid. pp. 264-79.

"By the nature of the subject, in social studies the various general aspects are, quite necessarily, mutually inter-connected and inseparable in reason, so that the one aspect can only be adequately explained by the consideration of the others. It is certain that the economic and industrial analysis of society cannot be positively accomplished, if one leaves out all intellectual, moral and political analysis: and therefore this irrational separation furnishes an evident indication of the essentially metaphysical nature of the doctrines based upon it." Now Mill was immensely attracted, and for the time possessed, by Comte's general conception of the Social Science or Sociology; and in the concluding chapters of his Logic he took this over bodily, together with Comte's distinction between Social Statics and Social Dynamics.1 Just as Comte rejected the "metaphysical" political philosophy of France, so Mill made clear his opinion of the inadequacy of "the interest-philosophy of the Bentham school" in its application to "the general theory of government." That philosophy, as he explained, was "founded on one comprehensive premiss: namely, that men's actions are always determined by their interests." But as this premiss was not true, what were really "the mere polemics of the day," and useful enough in that capacity, were quite erroneously "presented as the scientific treatment of a great question." And quite in the spirit of Comte he added:

"These philosophers would have applied and did apply their principles with innumerable allowances. But it is not allowances that are wanted. There is little chance of making due amends in the superstructure of a theory for the want of sufficient breadth in its foundations. It is unphilosophical to construct a science out of a few of the agencies by which the phenomena are determined, and leave the rest to the routine of practice or the sagacity of conjecture. We ought either not to pretend to scientific forms or

1 Mill's Logic, book vi. chaps. 6,10.

we ought to study all the determining agencies equally, and endeavour, as far as can be done, to include all of them within the pale of the science; else we shall infallibly bestow a disproportionate attention upon those which our theory takes into account, while we misestimate the rest and probably underrate their importance." l

How, then, about political economy, which Comte had criticised in precisely the same spirit? Mill was not at all disposed to throw overboard the Ricardian economics received from his father. In the first place, he maintained that a distinction could be drawn between the "general Science of Society" or "general Sociology" and " the separate compartments of the science, each of which asserts its conclusions only conditionally, subject to the paramount control of the laws of the general science." The ground for this contention he sets forth thus:

"Notwithstanding the universal consensus of the social phenomena, whereby nothing which takes place in any part of the operations of society is without its share of influence on every other part; and notwithstanding the paramount ascendency which the general state of civilisation and social progress in any given society must hence exercise over the partial and subordinate phenomena; it is not the less true that different species of social facts are in the main dependent, immediately and in the first resort, on different kinds of causes; and therefore not only may with advantage, but must, be studied apart. . . .

"There is,for example, one large class of social phenomena of which the immediately determining causes are principally those which act through the desire of wealth; and in which the psychological law mainly concerned is the familiar one that a greater gain is preferred to the smaller ... A science may be thus constructed which has received the name of Political Economy."3

In spite of the "for example" with which political economy is introduced, it is clear that the generalisation was formulated for the sake of that one subject, subject to a qualification to be shortly mentioned.

"I would not here undertake to decide what other hypothetical or abstract sciences, similar to Political Economy, may admit of being carved out of the general body of the social science; what other portions of the social phenomena are in a sufficiently close and complete dependence, in the first resort, on a particular class of causes, to make it convenient to create a preliminary science of those causes; postponing the consideration of the causes which act through them or in concurrence with them to a later period of the enquiry."1 ,

1 Ibid. u. p. 472 (ed, 3). Ibid. ii. pp. 480-1,

But-Mill was not content with this "departmental" view, taken

, by itself: he proceeded to build two further " bridges " between his new and his old opinions. In an essay, written for the most part in

1 1830, and published in the London and Westminster Review in 1836,3

Mill had laid down with the utmost stringency that the only method

i appropriate to political economy, i.e. to the * Bicardian economics, was the a priori or deductive one. Between this and the method of Observation recommended by Comte it might-have been thought that there was a sufficiently wide gulf. But Mill now proceeded to describe "the historical method,"—whereby "general" Sociology was to be built up according to Comte and himself alike,—in such terms as permitted him to designate even that a "DeductiveMethod,"

though indeed an "Inverse Deductive Method." Thus the evident contrast in method was softened down into the difference simply between "direct" and " inverse" deduction.3

The other bridge was to be a new science, or couple of sciences, still to be created. Mill explained at length in his Logic that there was need of what he denominated "Ethology" or a Science of Character.4 Built upon this, there ought to be a Political Ethology, or "a theory of the causes which determine the type of character belonging to a people or to an age." 5 The bearing of Political Ethology on Political Economy is thus summarily indicated:

"The most imperfect part of those branches of social enquiry which have been cultivated as separate sciences is the theory of the manner in which their conclusions are affected byethological considerations. The omission is no defect in them as abstract or hypothetical sciences, but it vitiates them in their practical application as branches of a comprehensive social science. In political economy, for instance, empirical laws of human nature are tacitly assumed by English thinkers, which are calculated only for Great Britain and the United States. Among other things an intensity of competition is constantly supposed, which, as a general mercantile fact, exists in no country in the world except those two. An English political economist . . . has seldom learned that it is possible that men, in conducting the business of selling their goods over the counter, should care more about their ease or their vanity than about their pecup*ary gain." i

1 Mill's Logic, ii. p. 486.

2 Beprinted in Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy (1844). 3 Logic, ii. pp. 476-7. 4 Ibid. ii. p. 441. 5 Ibid. ii. p. 486.

In spite once more of the introductory " for instance," it is clear that it is only political economy that Mill has in his mind; and it is primarily to remedy its "imperfections "'that Political Ethology is to be created. Political Ethology, like Ethology itself, Mill conceived of as directly deductive in its character.

It is no part of my task to criticise either M ,11 or Comte: all I am seeking to do is to make clear the intellectual relations between them. And whether, in particular, a Science of National Character is possible, and, if possible, on what sort of lines it may be constructed, I "would not here undertake to decide." I go on now to the purely biographical facts,—which need the more emphasis because they have dropt altogether out of the Autobiography,— that Mill took this project of creating an Ethology very seriously; that "with parental fondness he cherished this subject for a considerable time " ; 3 and that he dropt it because he could not make anything of it.3

It was in this mood of recoil that he began to think of composing "a special treatise on political economy, analogous to that of Adam Smith." Writing to Comte in April, 1844, he remarked that for him "this would only be the work of a few months." •* Some particulars as to the actual period of composition are furnished by the Autobiography.*

"The Political Economy was far more rapidly executed than the Logic, or indeed than anything of importance which I had previously written. It was commenced in the autumn of 1845, and was ready for the press before the end of 1847. In this period of little more than two years there was an interval of six months during which the work was laid aside, while I was writing articles in the Morning Chronicle . . . urging the formation of peasant properties on the waste lands of

1 Ibid. ii. p. 487. - Bain, pp. 78-9.

:{ Besides Bain's account, Mill's letters to Comte, printed by Levy-Bruhl, pp. 260, 285, are of interest.

4 Levy-Bruhl, p. 308. 5 P. 235 (Pop. ed. p. 135).

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