The Descent Of Man, By Charles Darwin And Karl Marx

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Charles Darwin in his The Descent of Man and Karl Marx in his The Communist Manifesto suggest similar understandings of progress. For Darwin, progress manifests itself in natural selection, often known as “survival of the fittest,” where fittest refers to organisms that can survive and reproduce successfully and not to the most physically fit. Marx realizes that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle,” and thus understands progress as the removal of class struggle and the movement towards the making of an equal society (Marx 62). Essentially, both Darwin and Marx understand progress as an evolution, a change towards something which is more developed and arguably better than its previous form. This understanding …show more content…
When the number of individuals surpasses the amount that can survive, naturally, a struggle to survive emerges. From this concept, Darwin then proceeds to define natural selection as “[…] the principle, by which each slight variation, if useful [to the survival of an organism], is preserved […]” (Origin 108). One point is key to this argument: natural selection itself is not random, and is dependent on the environment, which in turn leads to different variants being favored over others; however, the variants themselves are random. Variants are not brought about in response to changes in the environment but are selected because they give an individual a better chance of survival to reproduce and have more progeny. As a response to this selection, the variants will become more common in later generations of the species, a main aspect of evolution. Ultimately, by this argument, Darwin implicitly suggests that progress is evolution. More specifically, progress is an evolutionary movement to overcome …show more content…
the revolutions, are not random, and that sometimes the results themselves are random or unexpected. Variations between the Bourgeois and Proletariat classes in terms of economic and social standings are purposefully maintained by the Bourgeois to advance or maintain their class status. Marx argues that the static nature of the society puts it in a vicious cycle, of trying to overcome conflict and then falling back into it. Contrary to Darwin, however, Marx does not call this cycle progress and does not infer that progress must thus be infinite. He realizes that this cycle only incites change and not progress. Progress, to Marx, is finite; it has an end goal and is purposeful. If society is constantly falling for into the same conflict, then it has not progressed. For Marx, progress in a society would lead it to a social and economic equilibrium, which he believes can be achieved if society adopted

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