In this paper, I am going to outline the differences between three theories which propose to explain differences in humans along the lines of sex, skin color, and monetary wealth. I argue that each theory is a specific way of constructing reality, inseparable from the social conditions in which it was formulated, and as such, one cannot be construed as explaining difference more accurately than another, or as explaining any ultimate difference. However, I propose that evolutionary theory explains difference more convincingly than racial theory, and racial theory more convincingly than Marxist theory.
[...] Also, this period was marked by a growing industrial sector of society, and as such ideas about a working class dominated by a wealthy class came directly out of Marx's experience of this growing sector of society. Racialist thinking has historically been justified by the sciences. Scientists sought to correlate skin color with measurable physical differences such as skull size in order to justify ideas of racial superiority. One such "scientist" was Samuel Morton, who in the 19th century argued that differences existed between the ancient Egyptians and the black race based on differences in skull size, but his arguments were based on faulty data. [...]
[...] Such references would also inform the doctrine of racial eugenics as it was elaborated on both sides of the Atlantic (128)." Evolutionary thought emerged primarily with Charles Darwin in 1859, but his thinking emerges out of systems of taxonomy and naturalism developed by Linnaeus and Leclerc. Thinkers who preceded Darwin developed ideas of extinction and special change over time. Darwin was significant, however, for his break with Christian creationist doctrines. His theory of "natural selection" posited a natural "mechanism", by which humans are "ingrained" to compete for resources in the competition against extinction. [...]
[...] This type of hierarchical arrangement applied to human beings was a new interpretation of evolutionary theory, and one that influenced the Social Darwinist movement within anthropology and in Western culture, particularly in the United States. Tylor, in a sense, made a "leap" when he applied Darwinian ideas about special evolution to culture. "In district after district," he states, "the same causes which have introduced the cultivated plants and domesticated animals of civilization, have brought in with them a corresponding art and knowledge." By correlating cultural phenomena to natural phenomena, Tylor "naturalized" culture, much in the same way that race was naturalized by early physical anthropologists. [...]
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