Relativity in Man and Society

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Reviews the book, Relativity in Man and Society by Arthur F. Bentley (see record 1926-10288-000). The path of science is strewn with the wreckage of attempts to apply the findings of one branch of knowledge to another; and while Dr. Bentley would doubtless repudiate the notion that this volume presents an application of Einsteinian physics to social problems, there would seem no other justification for the popular exposition of relativity to be found yet once more in the first fifty pages of this book. The essay is a learned attempt to treat human, society objectively, without the use of the customary descriptive conceptions. And while the physics of Einstein and his school has touched all the physical sciences, it would be hard to find in this volume any new idea save the central one. The book is fundamentally an argument for the release of the science of sociology from psychology, which is thrown into the Newtonian discard. The latter science, we are told, exhibits a weakness, “not in its own field, but when taken over at its own statement into the study of Man-Society”. It is hard to feel that, as set forth in this book, the change of reference from Psychology to Physics is a fruitful one. The scholarship of “Relativity in Man and Society” commands respect; the argument that is built up out of its learnedly marshalled array of authorities is probably premature. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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