Social Philosophies of an Age of Crisis

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* Book: Social Philosophies of an Age of Crisis. By Pitirim Sorokin.



Richard Simpson:

"In Social Philosophies of an Age of Crisis (1950) Sorokin presents and evaluates critically the theories of world history propounded by Nikolai Danilevsky, Oswald Spengler, Arnold J. Toynbee, Walter Schubart, Nikolai Berdyaev, F. S. C. Northrop, Alfred L. Kroeber, Albert Schweitzer, and other writers. He finds that recent systems of social philosophy have been symptomatic of a decaying Sensate order heading pell-mell for chaos and eclecticism. The theories under consideration all appear to take this social disintegration into account and to be influenced by it in one way or another. Northrop's and Kroeber's theories agree fundamentally with those of Sorokin, he says. Northrop in positing his dichotomy between an esthetic and a theoretic component in cultural phenomena makes his greatest mistake in lumping elements together in his esthetic component some of which Sorokin considers Sensate and some Ideational. Kroeber errs chiefly in relying on a Sensate source, The Encyclopedia Britannica, for his data; this source is riddled with bias in favor of Sensate achievements. Though the other authors are guilty of more mistakes than Kroeber or Northrop, there are several major areas in which they all agree. Sorokin believes that these areas of agreement among experts represent valid findings."