SOC 103 Lecture Notes - Biological Determinism, Social Darwinism, Order Theory
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Lecture #2 – Biological Determination & Eugenics
June 25, 2012
1. What is an instinct?
- Sigmend Freud – One of the most famous biological determinants of all time. Argued that
you are your biology, nothing about you is socially constructed. Explained richness or
poorness by your genetics.
- But first – what is an instinct?
o Something you are born knowing how to do, you know how to do it automatically
o It is not socially constructed
- What is NOT an instinct?
o Survival is NOT an instinct. Why?
Infants and toddlers LEARN what to fear, have no sense of “hot stove”
You have to learn how to survive
o Mothering – mother-child attachment (Freud says that you know how to mother just
because you have a uterus – false)
o Sexual instinct
2. The process of evolution
- These are all things that come up in Social Darwinism
- 1861 – Darwin published his book called “Origin of the Species”
o About how certain species survived and other died out
o Experimented to find out – they were random and unplanned
o Mostly interested in WHAT made certain species adaptable – looked at why
dinosaurs had become extinct and single-cell organisms had survived for millions of
o Certain species were able to change and evolve over time to adapt
3. The human package
a. Bipedalism & tool making
- Gave us an edge of others – bipedalism allowed up to see greater distances, see our
- Tool making – facilitated hunting, allowed to make baskets etc. to carry food
b. Meat eating
- Supplemented diets
- Social survival – meant you had to do it with other people, had to hunt together
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