It is an unfortunate result of the semi - practical aims which naturally influence social
philosophers, that they are apt throughout to
take up an indifferent, if not a hostile,
attitude to their given object. They hardly
believe in actual society as a botanist believes
in plants, or a biologist in vital processes.
And hence, social theory comes off badly. No
student can really appreciate an object for
which he is always apologising... It is in no
spirit of obscurantism ... that some t.ke up a
different position. They are convinced that
an actual living society is an infinitely higher
creature than a steam -engine, a plant, or an
animal; and that the best of their ideas are
not too good to be employed in analysing it.