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British Idealism and Social ExplanationA Study in Late Victorian Thought$
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Sandra M. den Otter

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206002

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206002.001.0001

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Sociology and Idealist Social Philosophy

Sociology and Idealist Social Philosophy

(p.120) 4 Sociology and Idealist Social Philosophy
British Idealism and Social Explanation

Sandra M. Den Otter

Oxford University Press

The slow inclusion of sociology in the older universities is a recurrent theme in studies attributing the failure of British sociology to institutional or organizational factors. Philip Abrams argued in this vein that British sociology was in no sense a success story because of its social and institutional setting rather than an effect of inadequate intellectual resources or a problem of theory or method. Abrams suggested that focus on reformist governmental policies had subverted independent sociological theory. These arguments about the reputed theoretical bankruptcy of British sociology are immediately relevant to idealism. At first glance, the connection between idealism and sociology may appear remote or even implausible. Although the late 19th century saw a move towards professionalization of disciplines and the gradual definition of distinct methodologies and languages, these inquiries still overlapped.

Keywords:   social philosophy, universities, intellectual resources, sociological theory, idealism

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