June 5, 2017

Evolutionism against antievolutionism

Many of L. White include arguments aimed at the overthrow antievolutionism views, and so are more or less polemical character. The skill honed his polemical style recognized by many contemporaries, considering that it is particularly effective because of its inherent restraint and what is called good taste. One of these works  “Stages of evolution, progress and assessment culture” in which the author’s enthusiasm turned to anthropologists belonging to Group F. Boas. In this work he sharpens TK is a question with which he disagreed with supporters F. Boas: “Process, progress and evaluation cultures  just three aspects of a single question: evolutionism or antievolutionism?”.

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He explains that evolution  a process in which one form grows out of another, that evolution  a temporal sequence of forms. In this context, the stage  it’s just a sequence of significant forms of development. For clarity L. White exemplifies sequence forms axes, which serves to distinguish between degrees of barbed tools from the first crude stone ax to modern forms of hardened steel. Such stages can be distinguished in the development of writing, money, mathematics, medicine, social evolution, and so on. D.

In addition, proponents argued F. Boas and the inability to assess the culture, because this usually depends on the perspective of the subject; equally, they attributed it to progress, considering that it is not easy to determine in many areas of public life, except in the field of knowledge and control over nature, difficult to define and ethical ideas. In contrast to the evolutionists, who wanted to emphasize the universal and similarities across cultures, F. Boas emphasized the peculiarities of each culture as a result of this personal development. This indicates strong opposition in the cultural knowledge of different positions and very heated discussion between the authors.

Similarly, strained by disputes and interpretations but about the types of culture which found its reflection in part as the previous one, we have seen the article and the article “History, evolutionism and functionalism three types of interpretation of culture.” The fact that supporters F. Boas created a classification of interpreting culture where antievolutionism no place. According to their classification, there are only two types of interpretations: temporal, which they call “history” and they called “science.” In contrast to theoretical generalization of evolutionism, F. Boas understood the scientific method (historical) in the accumulation of a large number of facts and their further description. L. White points to the fallacy of this approach and defends the need for evolutionary interpretation is needed, along with two other types of interpretation to develop science in full force. Evolution is not simply “history” as he called its AL Kroeber. The evolutionary process, according to L. White  ordered; it can be described using the laws; it is  predictable. The historical process  random: there are no historical laws; Predictions are possible only in very narrow limits, and often there is something not expected. So evolutionary and historical processes are different in nature itself. Therefore, the title of the article was due to the need for the author to mark the difference between the three fences interpretation of culture, which correspond to three processes in culture:

  • the temporal process is a chronological sequence of individual events, which involved studying history;
  • formal process of expressing their timeless phenomenon, structural and functional aspects, which makes it possible to study the culture from its structure and functions;
  • formal time process that takes things as temporal sequence of forms, and studies of evolution.

White original position was that, unlike many of his contemporaries, he did not take the term “neoevolutionism” resorted to by these researchers come from the fact that the theory of evolution in the XX-XXI centuries. significantly different from the theory XIX century. We believe this is due to the fact that the controversy with antievolutionism L. White intentionally emphasized his connection with many ideas predecessors, and most of all, perhaps, the ideas E. Taylor, on which notice that differ only in the presentation , arguments and specific presentation, not a theory merits.

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