Class Notes Oct. 12

Class Notes Oct. 12 - 10/12/06 Essentialist nature...

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10/12/06 Essentialist – nature Constructionist - nurture Social Darwinism - Pre-eminence of biological laws biology governs social conditions - Struggles generated by competition for limited resources [Malthus] - Some traits, which can spread via inheritance, offer advantages in this struggle [Darwin and Lamarck] - Emergence of new and elimination of “unfit” species effected through cumulative effects of selection and inheritance Social Darwinism applies these principles not to biological but to social processes - based on a belief in progress - supports free enterprise system (also called capitalism) through the argument that competition stimulates ever greater achievement - no single form (just like evolution) – lots of competing forms of Social Darwinism Social Darwinism is most commonly associated with the work of Herbert Spencer who coined the phrase the “survival of the fittest” in 1852 . The phrase was coined before Darwin published his work. Raises the question why ideas are associated with Darwin at all not related to Darwin but shows the reception of Darwinian theory - Spencer was a Lamarckian who believed in acquired characteristics before Darwin began to publish, and who remained committed to Lamarckism - Saw the same evolutionary laws operating on biological processes and on human social processes: evolution of mind and society were co-extensive - Thus, a more complex culture stimulated mental improvement
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Class Notes Oct. 12 - 10/12/06 Essentialist nature...

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