By Igor Kon, H. Campbell Creighton
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Additional resources for A History of Classical Sociology
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1977), p 40. Marvin. Comte. The Founder of Sociology (Russell & Russell, New York, 1965). 31 Paul Kellermann. Organizistische Vorstellungen in soziologischen Konzeptionen bei Comte, Spencer, und Parsons (Dissertation, Munich, 1966). 32 I. S. Kon. Der Positivismus in der Soziologie (Akademie-Verlag, Berlin, 1968), p 19. 33 Lewis A. Coser. Op. , p 41. 3 4 Auguste Comte. Discours sur l’esprit positif, p 111. 28 42 3 HERBERT SPENCER’S SOCIOLOGICAL CONCEPTION Igor Kon 1.
The theory of geographical determinism was very broadly accepted then and seemed well grounded from the scientific point of view. A useful result of this theorising after the manner of biology was the attention given to the areal distribution of population, and to human ecology (in which one can see rudiments of today‘s social ecology). Natural factors like climate, soils, relief, the distribution of water resources and minerals, flora and fauna, geophysical and cosmic processes, the change of the seasons, and so on, also came into the field of view of social geography and the geographical currents in sociology.
Possibilism broke up the static conception of the environment as given once and for all with no relation to the active, historical subject. The historicism of this trend prompted it always to pose the matter concretely: an environment for what? and for whom? what were the possibilities of employing a given culture in it? The founder of the French school of social geography was the geographer and historian Paul Vidal de la Blache (1845-1918), who suggested that it was not a given environment that determined a way of life but rather the gradual historical changes that it underwent as a result of a changing way of life.