From Analysis to Synthesis
BEFORE GOING ON to an examination of the synthetic theory of society, I should like to pause for a moment over a passing remark of Pareto's which clarifies the relation between his and Comte's conceptions of modes of thought.
What, according to Pareto, is the essence of non-logico-experimental thought? Ordinarily it begins with certain facts, but then, instead of going back to properly experimental principles (like residues), it goes back to pseudo-experimental principles—this is the second phase of the non-logico-experimental mode of thought. In the case of today's intellectuals the third phase, after the pseudo-experimental principles, is marked by sentimental or metaphysical abstractions like democracy, right, solidarity, and other abstract formulas from which the authors deduce whatever conclusions appeal to them. Finally, the fourth phase, in certain cases, is the personification of these sentimental and metaphysical abstractions; instead of society or solidarity, God is invoked.
For men of learning, the fourth, the phase of personification, is the one furthest removed from experimental facts. However, for another, less educated category of men, the order of phases 3 and 4 is reversed: the invocation of personal forces or of divinity seems closer to experi