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Robert Ranulph Marett, Eugenics, and the Progress of Prehistoric Man September 10, 2011

Posted by Christopher Donohue in History of the Human Sciences.
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R. R. Marett’s account of the progress of prehistoric man in Progress and History (1916), edited by Francis Sydney Marvin, had the  object of assuring his audience that no matter how savage individuals were in the past they still grew, through gradual biological adaptation and an increasing awareness of divinity, into full grown Englishmen.

Robert Ranulph Marett (1866–1943)

Marett is remembered, if at all, for succeeding E.B. Tylor as Reader in Anthropology in Oxford in 1910,  and for proposing a primal stage of religious worldview,  pre-animism.  This elaborated on Tylor’s evolutionary scheme of psychic development.  Marett, like Lucien Levy-Bruhl, considered the primitive mind to be a uniform entity which ordered reality in a distinct way from that of modern man.