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Jane Addams's Evolutionary TheorizingConstructing "Democracy and Social Ethics"$
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Marilyn Fischer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226631325

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226631462.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

An Evolving Democracy

An Evolving Democracy

(p.23) Chapter 1 An Evolving Democracy
Jane Addams's Evolutionary Theorizing

Marilyn Fischer

University of Chicago Press

This chapter draws out the evolutionary content of “The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements,” Addams’s first published essay. Addams’s task in this essay is to show how social settlements can bring disparate groups into relations of healthy interdependence. Like her fellow social evolutionary theorists, Addams envisions society as a social organism and is concerned that its interdependent parts function in equilibrium. The chapter presents how the three types of motives for settlement work around which Addams organizes the essay represent three strands of Victorian evolutionary theorizing: evolutionary progress from political democracy toward industrial and social democracy, accounts of the evolution of morality from primitive biological instincts, and Comtean positivists’ account of the evolution of religion into humanism.

Keywords:   “The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements”, evolution, social organism, motive, democracy, morality, positivism

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