Man, Time, and Society

Man, Time, and Society

Man, Time, and Society

Man, Time, and Society

Excerpt

Time figures more prominently in the world of everyday experience and in the thoughts of philosophers than it does in that intermediate sector of human knowledge, the sciences that formalize and generalize the behavior of men. The social sciences have tended to neglect the way the limits and flows of time intersect the persistent and changeful qualities of human enterprises for reasons that are only partly clear. It is approximately accurate to say that the dominance of "static" models in social analysis has resulted in scant attention to the temporal order of social life. And to the next question, why the preoccupation with static models? it is perhaps justifiable to reply that all analytical sciences tend to perfect their descriptions of elements and observations of combinations before they develop the capacity to observe orderly transformations in the course of time.

The book at hand is a modest attempt to enrich the sociological perspective on the orderly qualities of human action by viewing time both as a boundary condition and as the measure of persistence and change.

A few years ago Professor Arnold S. Feldman and I were planning a book on "Order and Change in Industrial Societies," which is still in process. In outlining the book, we decided to include a section of three chapters dealing with certain basic "conditions" affecting all social systems, though not immune to the effects of human ingenuity and of the unplanned consequences of human . . .

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