Comparison of Boas to a unilineal evolutionist

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Sir Edward Burnett Tylor disagreed with the theory that specific groups and societies were examples of cultural degeneration. He proposed the theory of Unilinear Cultural Evolution defined as the idea that culture evolves in a progressive manner. It was thought that most societies pass through the same series of stages, to arrive ultimately at a common end. He believed that all humans were equally capable of developing and progressing through the stages, and how participants of primitive groups or cultures had “reached their position by learning and not by unlearning”. Tylor emphasized that culture developed from the simple to the complex, and that all societies passed through the three basic stages of development: savagery, barbarism, and civilization. He believed that all of us were able to progress in one or another ways. His definition of culture states: “Culture, or civilization, taken in its broad, ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” According to Tylor's theory, the culture particularly refers to the learned characteristics of our society; something we always had. Tylor believes how culture should not be seen in the artistic and spiritual accomplishments of our society, but rather in the moral and technological achievements. His belief and theory of culture largely differs from other modern anthropologists He was considered as being an amateur anthropologist that did not believe, nor had an interest in doing the fieldwork. He settled his belief on how all minds and capacities were equal in every culture of the world, regardless of the process of evolution and diversity through w... ... middle of paper ... ...a uniform evolution the world over. Rather each group has its own unique history. It would be quite impossible to understand, on the basis of a single evolutionary scheme, what happened to any particular people.” Unlike Tylor, Boas emphasized the importance of ethnographic work, learning the language, and broad survey and research which became the requirement for anthropology. Moreover, Boas is known as one of the first people to reject the idea of Unilineal Cultural Evolution. He believed how both, primitive and civilized theories of culture are wrong, pointing out how primitive culture had the same amount of history as the civilized one. He considered theories and researches of previous evolutionists and anthropologists ethnocentric, and called it non-scientific, while he based his beliefs and theories on science which categorized him as a modern anthropologist.

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