photo neededIn hmolscience, Frank Tracy Carlton (1873-1961) was an American engineer, physicist, social scientist, and economist, a cross-disciplinary “two cultures” theorist, noted for his avocation of the extrapolate upward view, namely that just as there is law and order in physics and chemistry level, so to is there law in order in the social and political level.

In 1912, Carlton, in his “History-Making Forces”, stated: [1]

“Social scientists are reaching the long-delayed conclusion that happenings in the social and the political sphere are not the result of chance, and individual impulse or willing, or of direct and arbitrary interference of an infinite power [god]. Social and political happenings, like physical and chemical actions and reactions, occur in an orderly and law-abiding manner. Events, movements, reforms, agitations, decay or growth of institutions may, in a measure, be prophesied, directed and aided or retarded. There is, or may be, a social science (or social sciences) as well as physical sciences. Social mechanics, social physics and social chemistry are real terms.”

In 1920, Carlton, in his Elementary Economics, stated: [2]

“There is law and order in the realm of physics and chemistry, so cause and effect may be studied in the political and social life of human beings.”

Curiously, by 1973 Carlton was “nearly forgotten”, or only remembered by labor historians as a pioneer who worked with in the framework of progressive scholar ship to make suggestions about the relationship of material conditions, behavior, and intellectual expression. [3] This is similar to many cross-disciplinary “two cultures” thinkers, such as Leon Winiarski and Ettore Majorana to name a few. Clearly, this is a puzzling situation, to say the least?

Carlton completed his undergraduate and graduate training in engineering and physics, after which he moved into the social sciences, making economics his field of specialization. He studied with Albion Small and others at the University of Chicago’s pioneering Department of Sociology and then at the University of Wisconsin with Richard Ely. [2] In 1904, Carlton was a professor at Toledo University School. [3] In 1912, he was a professor of economics and sociology at Albion College. In 1920, he was a professor of economics at de Paul University.

1. Carlton, Frank T. (1912). “History-Making Forces”, Popular Science, 81:349-54.
2. Carlton, Frank T. (1920). Elementary Economics: an Introduction to the Study of Economics and Sociology (chemistry, pgs. 4, 205). MacMillan.
3. Raucher, Alan. (1973). “Frank Tracy Carlton on Reforms: A Note on Historical Methods.” (abs), The Wisconsin Magazine of History, pgs. 117-.

External links
Carlton, Frank Tracy (1873-) – WorldCat Identities.
Frank Tracy Carlton – WikiSource.

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