Samuel LindsayIn hmolscience, Samuel McCune Lindsay (1869-1960) was an American sociologist noted for his 1898 discussion on what the unit of sociology should be, as compared to: psychology, economics, chemistry, or physics.

In 1898, Lindsay, in his “The Unit of Investigation or of Consideration in Sociology”, introduced the following query:

“The atom in chemistry and the molecule in physics might be cited as illustrations of a somewhat analogous service performed by units of investigation and consideration in those sciences. The fundamental concepts of economics can hardly be said to be removed beyond the pale of controversy, and yet the science of economics is a definite body of knowledge largely because economists have had in the principle of the division of labor which presupposes the economic man a poorly defined but nevertheless commonly accepted unit of consideration. Is it possible to find in the data of sociology any constantly recurring factor in the socializing process which is fundamental to the concept of society in all stages of development, and which therefore can be regarded as a unit of investigation, consideration and reference for all truly sociological data?”

The following year, Albion Small attempted to expand on this, by arguing that general sociology might be built like “general chemistry”. [2]

Lindsay received his Ph.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1889 and an LL.D. in 1909, and a PhD from the University of Halle in Germany in 1892. He was a special agent for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in 1892 and an agent for the U.S. Industrial Commission to report on railroad labor in 1899-1900. He became Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, 1896-1907 and Professor of Social Legislation at Columbia University, 1907-1939. [3]

The photo shown refers to by a “Samuel McCune Lindsay, Doctor” taken between created between 1905 and 1945 by Harris & Ewing; and thereby needs secondary corroboration. [4]

1. Lindsay, Samuel McCune. (1898). “The Unit of Investigation or of Consideration in Sociology” (pdf), The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (pgs. 214-), Vol. 12, Sep.
2. Small, Albion W. (1899) “Briefer Communications: A ‘Unit’ in Sociology.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (pgs. 81-229; esp. pg. 83: “human atom”), Vol. 13.
3. (a) Samuel McCune Lindsay (about) –
(b) Samuel McCune Lindsay (about) –
4. Samuel McCune Lindsay (photo) –

External links
‚óŹ Lindsay, Samuel McCune (1869-1960) – WorldCat Identities.

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