In the Middle Ages, there was a multitude of classifications for people. (All we need to do is review The Canterbury Tales to gain some
As the noble/common distinction lost influence from the second half of the 18th century onward, it seems to have been replaced by a number of
Scientific racism can be seen as a reaction to the decline of European social stratification. The classification of people by race supplanted the feudal classification
If, for the sake of argument, we say that values have nothing to do with social change, where does that leave us? Setting out this way implies that we’re not necessarily looking for the truth. We are, rather, making the conditional proposition known as If p, then q. If changing values do not produce social change, we can attribute social change to something else.
Luhmann argued that the legal system does not seek justice; as a self-referential social system, the legal system doesn’t have a goal other than its own reproduction. Justice is a value, but modern function systems are not undergirded by values. Ethically or morally just outcomes are not important. All that really matters is following established procedure, or due process.
The Scottish Enlightenment embarked on nothing less than a massive reordering of human knowledge. It sought to transform every branch of learning—literature and the arts; the social sciences; biology, chemistry, geology, and the other physical and natural sciences—into a series of organized disciplines that could be taught and passed on to posterity.