3. Sociology

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Book Chapter

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Sociology is one of the sciences of human behavior that has grown out of Enlightenment thought. In its present method and theory there is substantially nothing that was not anticipated by gifted seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century thinkers and their intellectual offspring in the Enlightenment tradition. From particular aspects of the grand theoretical syntheses that were characteristic of these centuries, a process of refinement and specialization has produced the sociology of the present day. [excerpt]

Additional Resources

Excerpts from George C. Homans's book, The Human Group, has been removed due to copyright restrictions. Click here to see a later edition of Homans's publication.


This is a part of Section XXI: Meaning in the Social Sciences. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.