Obstacles to the understanding of human society

At the end of 19th century, some social scientists misconstrued the concept of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and then categorized human societies as “advanced societies” and “delayed societies.” These concepts unfortunately helped to promote colonization and imperialism.*

As a reaction to this movement, “cultural relativism,” which argues that one culture should not be evaluated based on the criteria of another, became prevalent and propagated the notion that the concept of evolution should not be applied to society. Consequently, society and culture were considered to be human-specific, and excluded from the subjects studied within the natural sciences.

■References (Books, papers, Web articles, etc.)
Ancient Society  Lewis H. Morgan Forgotten Books (March 21, 2019)
The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State  Engels Friedrich Lulu.com; null edition (July 12, 2018)
人間以前の社会』  今西錦司 (岩波文庫、1951)
人類進化論——霊長類学からの展開』 第1章 霊長類学の発想 pp.9~10  山極寿一 (裳華房、2008)

*The concept of “the struggle for the survival of the fittest” was misappropriated to the logic of the strong, and was used to justify aggression and colonization by imperialist countries. On the other hand, communism also follows the social evolution paradigm. For example, Karl Marx dedicated the first volume of Das Kapital to Darwin, saying that evolution had contributed to the materialist conception of history. [Editorial note]

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