Social Evolution Essay, Research Paper
Herbert Spencer and Franz Boaz had two opposing theories on the social evolution theory. Each theory was difficult to prove but great theories. But both theories had it s ups and downs . Herbert Spencer was born in England, he is best known for developing and applying the evolutionary theory to philosophy and psychology. The evolutionary theory states that societies go from simple societies to complex societies. The more complex a society is the more evolved they are. A complex society is more civilized with different social levels of politics, such as slaves and kings. He proclaimed, Only the strongest survives. . Spencer explained a king is the ruler of everyone because he is the strongest. The different social levels caused a complex society to be more competitive, thus progressive. A simple society, consisting of hunters and gathers, are considered less evolved, thus weaker then those of a complex society. A simple society was said to consist of all equal social ranks. Spencer believed a competitive society was more realistic then a cooperative society where everyone is equal because he believed everyone was affected by greed. Spencer compared societies by categorizing race and culture, which he viewed at one term. Spencer felt race and culture were not different enough to be classified as two different terms. Spencer believed that every race that belonged to a society is the same as the next, but some are more evolved then others. A simple society developed into a complex society through prospective steps. A society can go only from simple to complex. The only time a society could go from complex to simple
was if a national disaster occurred, but he explained that the most evolved society would develop back at a faster rate. Boaz was a Jewish German American anthropologist and ethnologist. His theory on social evolution stated that no truly pure race existed and no race is innately superior to any other. He confirmed the differences in peoples were the result of historical, social and geographic conditions and all people had equally developed cultures. Boaz was objective. He lived within different societies around the world while collecting data on everything he saw, from language, customs and history. He concluded that a society can survive through corporation just as well as a society can through competition. How a society survives depends on it s psychological conditions, what satisfies their human needs. No matter how a society struggles to survive, no society is superior, or more evolved then the next. Spencer was considered ethnocentric and racist in his theory on social evolution because he was no objective. He may have not been open minded because he was not brought up in a multicultural society. Spencer grew up and lived among the British all his life. Boaz, on the other hand, was jewish and saw the differences in views of different cultures because he had grew up among a semi multicultural society. Herbert Spencer s theory was very convincing, even enough for Darwin to take some of his ideas and develop it into a biological evolution theory. Th problem was that Spencer was not objective enough, he was not a true sociologist. As for Boaz, he was objective enough, since he was a culture relativist.