This was a period in science and human thought that affected great changes in how people understand the world and human development.
Notable people of this era include:
Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace,
Sir Edward Burnett Tylor,
Lewis Henry Morgan,
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Notable publications include:
-Herbert Spencer, The Social Organism (1860)
-Lewis Henry Morgan, Ethnical Periods (1877)
-Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook (1845-1846)
-Edward Burnett Tylor, Science of Culture (1871)
The readings from this section share some similar tendencies, one among these is the idea of human interaction as an evolutionary process. Spenser’s theory is very unilateral in suggesting that civilization progress, or evolve. His writing gives an analogous view of civilization and human interaction as a biological organism, suggesting that the social factors of human interaction have evolved from simplistic to more complicated. This is also intertwined with authors such as Taylor, who also compare anthropology with the natural sciences, echoing the sentiments of Darwinian theory by applying the idea to human civilization. Feuerbach takes this idea a step further with the productions of intercourse, adding more specific elements of human interaction into what is basically the same idea presented by Spencer and Taylor. It is important here to focus on material and its role as a driving force in this evolutionary theory.
Based on this idea, and the more in-depth literature that supports it, we would like to discuss the following:
In the spirit of 19th Century Evolutionism: Explain the evolution of culture in the terms of the evolution of life, or as an analogy of a living organism or body, or a progressive process of change, or as the development of mental capacities. You may want to consider: the evolution of simple to complex societies, interdependency, class structure, religion, materialism, technology innovation or art, knowledge/ education, subsistence, roles and structure of the family, government, division of labor, or speech. How are all these ideas related, or how are all societies related to one another? Is there a progression of society, and if there is, what is the ultimate goal of society?