How Change Happens: A Theory of Philosophy of History, Social Change and Cultural Evolution

Wellington, New Zealand: Best Publications Limited (2009)
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Abstract
It is proposed that the ultimate cause of much historical, social and cultural change is the gradual accumulation of human knowledge of the environment. Human beings use the materials in their environment to meet their needs and increased human knowledge of the environment enables human needs to be met in a more efficient manner. Human needs direct human research into particular areas and this provides a direction for historical, social and cultural development. The human environment has a particular structure and human beings have a particular place in it so that human knowledge of the environment is acquired in a particular order. The simplest knowledge, or the knowledge closest to us, is acquired first and more complex knowledge, or knowledge further from us is acquired later. The order of discovery determines the course of human social and cultural history as knowledge of new and more efficient means of meeting human needs, results in new technology, which results in the development of new social and ideological systems. This means human history, or a major part of human history, had to follow a particular course, a course that is determined by the structure of the human environment. An examination of the structure of the human environment will reveal the particular order in which our discoveries had to be made. Given that a certain level of knowledge will result in a particular type of society, it is possible to ascertain the types of societies that were inevitable in human history. While it is not possible to make predictions about the future course of human history, it is possible to explain and understand why human history has followed a particular path and why it had to follow that particular path.
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