The Study of Man
Social scientists can no longer be reproached for busying themselves with theoretical issues while ignoring the major problems confronting mankind. The ivory towers now stand abandoned; almost every scholar of note in the fields of sociology, psychology and anthropology concerns himself with how the studies devoted to the extension of man’s knowledge of man may advance solutions to the problems of a free society. The theoretical equipment developed in the study of the social life of Melanesians or the learning habits of rats is now turned on Western man. At the same time new theoretical approaches are being developed and applied, designed specifically for the special problems of our own society.
Those engaged in the various fields would freely concede that results to date are not world-shaking. What was suspected and what common sense asserted has in some cases been proved; some concepts have been more exactly defined and others have been shown to be invalid; what we knew generally has been made more explicit. Yet while the results are relatively meager, the promise is tremendous. Admitted that the study of man is some centuries behind the study of nature, yet it can no longer be denied that it is a science.
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