In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Journal of the History of Ideas The year before the Origin of Species appeared another young man, Alfred Russel Wallace, aged 25, encountered the very same book. This article examines some crucial nineteenth-century sources of the idea of the "survival of the fittest," which came to underpin many of the social and political doctrines later associated with the theory of natural selection, and also what were regarded as some of the limits of this idea.
Indeed, the ubiquity… Historical development of sociology Though sociology draws on the Western tradition of rational inquiry established by the ancient Greeks, it is specifically the offspring of 18th- and 19th-century philosophy and has been viewed, along with economics and political science, as a reaction against speculative philosophy and folklore.
Consequently, sociology separated from moral philosophy to become a specialized discipline. While he is not credited with the founding of the discipline of sociology, French philosopher Auguste Comte is recognized for having coined the term sociology. The founders of sociology spent decades searching for the proper direction of the new discipline.
They tried several highly divergent pathways, some driven by methods and contents borrowed from other sciences, others invented by the scholars themselves. To better view the various turns the discipline has taken, the development of sociology may be divided into four periods: Founding the discipline Some of the earliest sociologists developed an approach based on Darwinian evolutionary theory.
In their attempts to establish a scientifically based academic discipline, a line of creative thinkers, including Herbert SpencerBenjamin Kidd, Lewis H. Tylorand L.
Hobhousedeveloped analogies between human society and the biological organism. They introduced into sociological theory such biological concepts as variance, natural selectionand inheritance—asserting that these evolutionary factors resulted in the progress of societies from stages of savagery and barbarism to civilization by virtue of the survival of the fittest.
Some writers believed that these stages of society could be seen in the developmental stages of each individual.
Although the popularity of social Darwinism waned in the 20th century, the ideas on competition and analogies from biological ecology were appropriated by the Chicago School of sociology a University of Chicago program focusing on urban studies, founded by Albion Small in to form the theory of human ecology that endures as a viable study approach.
Replacing Darwinist determinism Since the initial interest in evolutionary theory, sociologists have considered four deterministic theories to replace social Darwinism. This search for new approaches began prior to World War I as emphasis shifted from economic theory to geographic, psychological, and cultural theory—roughly in that order.
Economic determinism The first theory, economic determinism, reflects the interest many sociologists had in the thought of Karl Marxsuch as the idea that social differentiation and class conflict resulted from economic factors.
This approach had its greatest popularity in Europe, where it remained a strong influence on some sociologists until the s. It did not gain a significant foothold in the United Statesbecause American society was thought to be socially mobile, classless, and oriented to the individual.
This neglect of Marxism by American sociologists, however, was not due to scholarly ignorance. Sociologists of all periods had read Marx as well as Charles A. Instead, in the s, neo-Marxism—an amalgam of theories of stratification by Marx and Max Weber —gained strong support among a minority of sociologists.
Their enthusiasm lasted about 30 years, ebbing with the breakup of the Soviet system and the introduction of postindustrial doctrines that linked class systems to a bygone industrial era.
The persistence of social and economic inequality is now explained as a complex outcome of factors, including gender, race, and region, as well as global trade and national politics.
Human ecology Representing the second theoretical area, human geographers— Ellsworth HuntingtonEllen SempleFriedrich RatzelPaul Vidal de La BlacheJean Brunhes, and others—emphasized the impact of climate and geography on the evolution of those societies that flourished in temperate zones.
Their theories found no place in mainstream sociological thought, however, except for a brief period in the s when human ecology sought to explain social change by linking environmental conditions with demographicorganizational, and technological factors.
Human ecology remains a small but vital part of sociology today. Social psychology Psychological theories emphasized instincts, drives, motives, temperament, intelligence, and human sociability in social behaviour and societal evolution.
Social psychology modifies these concepts to explain the broader phenomena of social interaction or small group behaviour.Social Darwinists held that the life of humans in society was a struggle for existence ruled by “survival of the fittest,” a phrase proposed by .
The distinctiveness of much of Social Darwinism, then, resulted not from the popularization of the metaphor of the "survival of the fittest" or of human "fitness" to the end of a common goal, though this remains a widely-accepted definition of the term.
Survival of the Fittest - Darwin's Survival of the Fittest research papers in relation to social darwinism and the theory of natural selection. Evolution as Fact and Theory - Evolution as Fact and Theory Research Papers examine Stephen Jay . The application of Darwin's concept of "the survival of the fittest" to explain evolution in nature to human social relationships.
Was used to justify not aiding the poor and working class or to justify the domination of colonial peoples or . The "Survival of the Fittest" and the Origins of Social Darwinism Gregory Claeys Journal of the History of Ideas, Volume 61, Number 2, April , pp.
The “Survival of the Fittest” (The Science of Power, The Origins of . Thre Views of Social Darwinism - The concept of Social Darwinism was a widely accepted theory in the nineteenth-century. Various intellectual, and political figures from each side of the political spectrum grasped the theory and interpreted it in various ways.