Compare and Contrast Two Sociological Theories

Topics: Feminism, Radical feminism, Feminist theory Pages: 8 (2793 words) Published: January 18, 2011
Heather Woody
1) Compare and contrast any two sociological theories.  Be sure to identify major theorist associated with the theories.  Which is the better explanation? Why? Survival of the Fittest/Social Darwinism & Altruism

Herbert Spencer used the phrase “Survival of the Fittest” after reading Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Mr. Darwin’s biological theory called, ‘natural selection,’ was what he considered the preservation of favored races in the struggle of life. The phrase is to mean that “only the fittest organism will prevail.” Any organism which succeeds in reproducing itself is considered to be “fit” and has and will contribute to the survival of its own species. The term is applied to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection which can be used to understand the social endurance of a nation or country.

This theory was espoused by Prince Peter Kropotkin, Altruism, but was coined by Auguste Comte. This is also called (William Donald) Hamilton’s Genetics Theory of social behavior. Altruism is any behavior of an animal that may be disadvantageous for the individual but benefits others of its species. In relation to humans it is the selfless concern for the well being of others. These are virtues in many cultures and religions that are practiced by humans. It is distinguished by loyalty and the motivation to help others, or wanting to do so, without the intention of receiving a reward. Pure Altruism is giving without regard to reward or the benefits of recognition and need. It may also refer to ethical doctrine that individuals are morally obliged to benefit others. When speaking about the study of social evolution, altruism refers to the behavior of an individual that increases the fitness of another individual while decreasing the fitness of the actor.

Survival of the fittest is of course a sociobiological topic dealing with the ways that the best of each class will succeed all others. Whereas altruism is the behavior of an organism, submitting itself to penalties in order to save the rest. The difference between the two subjects lies in the intentions of the organism. While one is trying to survive at any cost, to succeed through life, the other is looking out for the success of the rest of the species. Although, if the organism in some way can determine that by mating with the “best” out of the others, it is doing the best for all others, then in some way these topics are related. The organism can determine that while it is the best for them to successfully mate with another particular organism, it can also benefit the species as a whole.

The better explanation of the two of these, in my opinion, would have to be altruism. This is more easily understood for someone with a religious background. Anyone who has ties to a Christian heritage has been indoctrinated that it is better to help others than to be selfish and look out only for yourself. Also, even in the case that someone does not have a religious background; children from an early age are taught to help others. For example, if both you and your friend are skipping and you both fall down you are taught to not only get up yourself, but to also help the other person. This seems to be altruism at its best.

2) Describe any one psychological theory.  Include associated theorists, basic premises, and criticisms.

Behaviorism is a theory that is based on learning upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning as defined on, is a process of behavior modification by which a subject comes to associate a desired behavior with a previously unrelated stimulus. There are two types of conditioning associated with behaviorism. The first is classical conditioning, it is used in obviously behavior training and modification. There is a naturally occurring stimulus is paired with a response. The previously neutral stimulus is paired with the naturally occurring...
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