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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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‘The Coherence and Continuance of Society’: The Individual, Community, and the State

‘The Coherence and Continuance of Society’: The Individual, Community, and the State

(p.149) 5 ‘The Coherence and Continuance of Society’: The Individual, Community, and the State
British Idealism and Social Explanation

Sandra M. Den Otter

Oxford University Press

From the beginning of the 19th century, industrial expansion accompanied by rapid urbanization seemed to diminish such traditional forms of association as kinship, parish, and land. The hitherto dominant structures of rural community were supplanted by the dynamics of class fuelled by city and industry. This chapter examines the relationship between idealist social philosophy and late Victorian and Edwardian sociology, and looks at idealist responses to the problem which Bosanquet posed in The Philosophical Theory of the State: how far it is necessary or desirable that they should blend. Beginning with a survey of the various uses of the term ‘sociology’, the challenges raised by idealists and their fellow social theorists to contemporary sociology, and in particular to biological theories of society advanced by Herbert Spencer and Benjamin Kidd, are discussed, in addition to idealist responses to the various strands of sociology expressed in the Sociological Society.

Keywords:   industrial expansion, Bosanquet, contemporary sociology, Herbert Spencer, Benjamin Kidd

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