Social evolution PDF book 1906 by Benjamin Kidd

Social evolution PDF book 1906 by Benjamin Kidd 

Benjamin Kidd
Benjamin Kidd

One of the most remarkable epochs in the history of human thought is that through which we have passed in the last half of the nineteenth century. The revolution which began with the application of the doctrines of evolutionary science, and which received its first great impetus with the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species^ has gradually extended in scope until it has affected the entire intellectual life of our Western civilization. One after the other we have seen the lower sciences revivified, reconstructed, transformed by the new knowledge.

The sciences dealing with a man in society have naturally been the last to be affected, but now that the movement has reached them the changes therein promise to be even more startling in character.

 History, economics, the science of politics, and, last but not least important, the attitude of science to the religious life and the religious phenomena of mankind, promise to be profoundly influenced. The whole plan of life is, in short, being slowly revealed to us in a new light, and we are beginning to perceive that it presents a single majestic unity, throughout every part of which the conditions of law and orderly progress reign supreme. Nothing is more remarkable in this period of reconstruction than the change which is almost imperceptibly taking place in the minds of the rising generation respecting the great social and religious problem of our time.

We have lived through a period when the very foundations of human thought have been rebuilt. To many who in the first stage saw only the confusion occasioned by the moving of old landmarks, the time has been one of perplexity and changing hope. But those whose lot it has been to come later have already an inspiring and uplifting conception of the character of the work which the larger knowledge is destined eventually to accomplish.

That the moral law is the unchanging law of progress in human society is the lesson that appears to be written over all things. No school of theology has ever sought to enforce this teaching with the directness and emphasis which it appears that evolutionary science will in the future be justified in doing. In the silent and strenuous rivalry in which every section of the race is of necessity continually engaged, permanent success appears to be invariably associated with the ethical and moral conditions favorable to the maintenance of a high standard of social efficiency, and with those conditions only.

No one who engages in a serious study of the period of transition through which our Western civilization is passing at the present time can resist the conclusion that we are rapidly approaching a time when we shall be face to face with social and political problems, graver in character and more far-reaching in extent than any which have been hitherto encountered.

These problems are not peculiar to any nationality included in our civilization. But in the method of their solution, the social efficiency of the various sections of the Western peoples will probably be put to a severer test than any which it has yet had to undergo. Those who realize, however dimly, the immense part which the English-speaking peoples — if true to their own traditions — are not improbably destined to play in the immediate future of the world, will feel how great a gain any advance may be which enables us through the methods of modern science to obtain a clear perception of the stern, immutable conditions of moral fitness and uprightness through which alone a people can long continue to play a great part on the stage of the world.

No other race has ever looked out upon such an opportunity as presents itself before these peoples in the twentieth century. Will they prove equal to it .-* The world will be poorer indeed and the outlook for our civilization gloomy if they fail. -Those of us who believe that they will not fail, feel that anything which helps the world to a better understanding of the great permanent causes which make for the improvement or decay of peoples must need act as a strengthening and bracing influence in the work which is before us.

Chapter I  the outlook 1 chapter ii conditions of human progress ...... 29 chapter iii there is no rational sanction for the conditions of progress ......... 59 chapter iv the central feature of human history . . . .81 chapter v the function of religious beliefs in the evolution of society . . . . . . . . . .97 chapter vi western civilisation .118 vi social evolution chapter vii page western civilisation (continued] . . . . . .146 chapter viii modern socialism . . . . . . . .193 chapter ix human evolution is not primarily intellectual. 243 chapter x concluding remarks . . . . . . . .288 appendix I . ..." 331 appendix ii 335 appendix iii 341

Author: Benjamin Kidd 
 Publication Date:1906

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