In hmolscience, physical sociology is sociology based on the physical sciences and or physics specifically.

Near synonyms include: social physics, sociological physics, and socio-physics (or sociophysics).

In 1898, Edward Payson, in his Suggestions Towards and Applied Science of Sociology (Ѻ), employed the term “physics” some 13+ times and “physical sociology” some 14+ times in a very loose way; an abstract of this effort is as follows: (Ѻ)

“This writer’s endeavor is to formulate a system of what he terms ‘physical sociology’, as distinguished from animistic. He believes that much evil in the world heretofore viewed as intangible, has really a physical character, and hence may be reached and grappled with the state. He draws illustrations of the practical application of this proposition from criminal law and public philoanthropy.”

In 1921, discussions of instances of what might be called “physical sociology” were being discussed. (Ѻ)

In 1960, some were attributing the work of Thomas Hobbes as being an attempt at quasi-physical sociology: (Ѻ)

“Yet when these sciences attained their modern prestige it was, in a way, natural to make new attempts at physical or quasi-physical sociology. Hobbes seems to have been the first to try. Hard things have been said about him, not all of them...”

In 2000, Chinese researcher Zhong Xue Fu published Physical Sociology: Social Phenomena, Interpretation of Theoretical Exploration, which supposedly as some type of physical nature of wealth and possession modelling. [1]

In 2000, Bruno Latour was commenting around in interview, as a joke, how there is no "physical sociology" in sociology, akin to physical anthropology, in anthropology, or physical geography, in the geography department. (Ѻ) A number of discussions and variations of this comment can be found; one example being the following:

“Unfortunately there is no ‘physical sociology’, and that is why sociology is so poor because it never actually had a counter-part in the same department.”
Bruno Latour (2000) (Ѻ)

In 2013, American sociologist and social mechanics historian of sorts Leon Warshay, in discussion with Libb Thims about the pros and cons of his “two cultures inquiries” efforts, employed the term “physical sociology” in commentary on University of Chicago sociology department chair Mario Small's comment to Libb Thims that a two cultures (sociology department + physics department) proposal for establishment at University of Chicago is too "tall" an order at the moment, as follows: [2]

1. Mario Small's statement that the "introduction of a department or class, strung between the physics and sociology department, seems like a tall order at the moment" but, being true to a physical analogy or model, tall orders can be toppled.
2. While a physical sociology, or social science, is "foreign matter," given the prevalence in sociology of Weberian, Parsonian, Interactionist, Functionalist, and similar approaches, the concepts and theories to be selected and used are a pragmatic matter, a matter of fit and usefulness, in prediction, explanation, intelligibility, and the like.
3. Hence, sociophysics cannot, and should not, be ruled out of court, despite Talcott Parsons.
4. At the other "extreme," neither should qualitative, humanistic, and/or idealist approaches be ruled out, whether subjective idealist or objective idealist.
4. What should be avoided is narrowness and closed-mindedness.
5. Hence, it is necessary to entertain physicalist, chemical, biologistic, psychologistic, material culturalist, geographic concepts, models, and theories.

The following are related quotes:

“The elucidation of economic relationships, depending as it does on the nature of the hypothesis of human aggregation actually in operation at any time, is considered to be subordinate and subsequent to this general science of sociology. Political economy and economics, in our world now, consist of a hopeless muddle of social assumptions and preposterous psychology, and a few geographical and physical generalisations. Its ingredients will be classified out and widely separated in utopian thought. On the one hand there will be the study of physical economies, ending in the descriptive treatment of society as an organisation for the conversion of all the available energy in nature to the material ends of mankind—a physical sociology which will be already at such a stage of practical development as to be giving the world this token coinage representing energy—and on the other there will be the study of economic problems as problems in the division of labour, having regard to a social organisation whose main ends are reproduction and education in an atmosphere of personal freedom. Each of these inquiries, working unencumbered by the other, will be continually contributing fresh valid conclusions for the use of the practical administrator.”
— H.G. Wells (1904), A Modern Utopia (Ѻ)

See also
Physicochemical humanities
Physicochemical sociology

1. (a) Fu, Zhong Xue. (2000). Physical Sociology: Social Phenomena. Interpretation of Theoretical Exploration. China Social Sciences Press.
(b) Fu, Zhong Xue. (2013). Mathematical Analysis of Social Theory (abs). Publisher.
2. Email communication from Leon Warshay to Libb Thims (5, 8 Mar; 14 May 2013).

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