By Christopher Robert Hallpike
Political correctness in social anthropology has made the phrases 'primitive society' 'social evolution' or even 'human nature' unacceptable, and got rid of the potential of open educational debate approximately them. Written from the viewpoint of a lifetime's learn, this choice of papers takes a difficult examine those taboos, and demanding situations a few basic assumptions of post-modern considering. together with a few new fabric on memetics, evolutionary psychology and Darwinian idea within the social sciences, this assortment presents a long-overdue evaluate of a few key issues in smooth anthropology.
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Political correctness in social anthropology has made the phrases 'primitive society' 'social evolution' or even 'human nature' unacceptable, and got rid of the potential of open educational debate approximately them. Written from the point of view of a lifetime's study, this selection of papers takes a troublesome examine those taboos, and demanding situations a few basic assumptions of post-modern pondering.
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Extra info for On Primitive Society: And other Forbidden Topics
Leach 1982: 16-17). Since all human cultures are inherently different but equal, the whole idea of social evolution must also be misconceived, and all that has happened in the course of history is that cultures have simply become increasingly different, as the result of varying choices of life-style and historical accidents. ) One anonymous contributor to Wikipedia exquisitely conveys the currently fashionable attitude to social evolution, and the style of thought that goes with it: There are still others who continue to reject the entirety of evolutionary thinking and look instead at historical contingencies, contacts with other cultures, and the operation of cultural symbol systems.
This is why it has always made logical sense for the study of primitive societies to form the distinct academic discipline of social (cultural) anthropology. This specialist knowledge has enabled anthropology to make essential contributions to archaeology, classical scholarship, history, and religious studies, for example, because of its unique understanding of primitive societies and their modes of life. In particular, a thorough grounding in traditional social anthropology should also be an essential requirement for sociobiologists, evolutionary psychologists and others who try to apply Darwinian theory to our prehistoric ancestors, but in fact they usually have only the most superficial knowledge of primitive society, as we shall see.
This must severely limit the ability of a theory of cultural inheritance to say what can happen and, more importantly, what cannot happen. ] We shall discuss the relevance of the whole Darwinian model to social evolution in more detail later, in §5, but the supposed necessity of choosing between natural selection and conscious design is in any case a false dichotomy, since there is in fact a third possibility, that social evolution is the result of the spontaneous self-organization of complex systems.
On Primitive Society: And other Forbidden Topics by Christopher Robert Hallpike