socessay_1 - 1. Briefly discuss the origins, history and...

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1. Briefly discuss the origins, history and central assumptions of the idea of progress. How did King Leopold of Belgium use this idea to justify the plundering of the Congo and the murder, enslavement and exploitation of its people? Western culture has many taken-for-granted assumptions that permeate and influence our daily lives. Plato and Aristotle created two assumptions that have greatly impacted Western history. Plato established that all categories of things have an essence that presides in the realm of ideas and any variance within the category is a digression from its’ ideal. These categories are arranged into a single hierarchy known as The Great Chain of Being, which is both a natural hierarchy and a moral hierarchy. This idea of course creates some major problems: it is antidemocratic and sees the diversity of nature on one scale. It later became assumed that white European Christian males were high on the Great Chain of being than other humans such as those residing in the Congo during imperialism. Another important taken-for-granted assumption of Western thought is the notion of the idea
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