The Emergence of Professional Social Science: The American Social Science Association and the Nineteenth-Century Crisis of Authority

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Thomas L. Haskell's The Emergence of Professional Social Science signaled the beginning of his distinguished career as a historian of ideas and critic of historical logic. His first book, now available in this paperback edition with a new preface by the author, explores the background and premises of the American Social Science Association (ASSA)-the first American group dedicated to the scientific study of humanity and society. Haskell thus helps us to understand a sea change in American intellectual life-the rise of this thing called social science, the power and implications of the new trend toward secular professionalism, and, ultimately, how it happened that commonsense modes of explanation in terms of conscious choices by individuals came to be overshadowed by a mode of explanation that systematically construes people as creatures of circumstance. How, Haskell asks in his conclusion, did the development of modern society alter the way we explain human affairs and conceive of man? This edition includes a new appendix, listing all articles appearing in the Journal of Social Science from 1869 to 1901.