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Meteorological Models in Social Dynamics:I. Concepts in Meteorology

Human Relations , Volume 14 (1): 43 – Feb 1, 1961


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1961 by SAGE Publications
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Meteorological Models in Social Dynamics:I. Concepts in Meteorology


Meteorological Models in Social Dynamics L Concepts in Meteorology J. W. THOMPSON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN METEOROLOGY AND OTHER BRANCHES OF PHYSICS THE NEED for an effective social dynamics has been emphasized by MacRae, who has pointed out that we should not be frightened of attempting a taxonomy of change (MacRae, 1957). The existing concepts of social dynamics are all to a vary- ing extent modelled on those of physics, e.g. those of Pareto (1935), Bridgman (1938), Dodd (1950), Bales (1951), and Stewart (1952). Physics is popular as a source of concepts in social dynamics because scientists require concepts which will enable them to measure, and physics has had the reputation for being the quantitative science par excellence. There are, however, important differences between physics and sociology-for example, most branches of physics deal with very small particles such as electrons, atoms, and molecules-and consequently there are differences of opinion as to what extent in social dynamics physics is capable of providing concepts and models that are suitable. At the one extreme, the logical-positivist philosopher Neurath (1931) claimed that not only sociology but every science can be reduced to 'physicalism', and at the other, Sorokin (1958) strongly criticizes all quantification
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