Social matter

In hmolscience, social matter refers to society defined as a type of matter that is allied or associated together.

In 1896, French lawyer and social philosopher Maurice Hauriou, in his The Traditional Social Science, penned out an opening chapter subsection entitled “Social Material”, in which he stated the following: [1]

Social science can be defined either as science of society, of the social condition, or of social matter. The only important point is to provide some material as an object. All observational sciences work upon some material, physics and chemistry upon physical matter, biology on living matter, experimental psychology on physical matter broken down into states of consciousness. It is natural to rest social science on social matter.”

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In circa 1930, French philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943), in her discussions of the social physics and historical materialism theories of Karl Marx, supposedly, asserted that Marx’s greatest achievement was calling attention to the possibility of a social science focused on the existence of a “social matter”, or something to this effect. Weil asserted that we must thank Marx for the “stroke of genius” of holding out the promise of a social physics: [2]

“Marx was the first and, unless I am mistaken, the only one—for his researches were not followed up—to have the twin idea of taking society as the fundamental human fact and of studying therein, as the physicist does in matter, the relationships of force.”

Weil, however, later, supposedly, cautioned about the “analogy” of a social and physical force, arguing something to the effect that the social dynamic is subject to laws that cannot be as easily recognized as the laws of physics but that in principle form a law of necessity as intelligible as those that prevail in the physical universe. [2]

The following are related quotes:

“Physicists didn’t make any progress in understanding the world of condensed matter before they had a descent picture of the properties of individual atoms and molecules themselves. You have to know at least a little about the building blocks, and the same goes for social matter.”
Mark Buchanan (2007), The Social Atom [3]

See also
‚óŹ Sociology terminology upgrades

1. Hauriou, Maurice. (1896). Tradition in Social Science (translator: Christopher Gray) (§1: Social Matter, pgs. 1-). Rodopi, 2011.
2. (a) Moulakis, Athanasios. (1998). Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial (§10: Social Physics, pgs. 112-16, esp. pg. 112). University of Missouri Press.
(b) Simone Weil – Wikipedia.
3. Buchanan, Mark. (2007). The Social Atom: Why the Rich get Richer, Cheaters get Caught, and Your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You (pg. 41). New York: Bloomsbury.

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