Review essay on David Laibman, Deep History: A Study in Social Evolution and Human Potential
AbstractWhile historical materialism and evolutionism provide similar explanations and ideas regarding the cause of long-term social change, the two theories are rarely used in conjunction with one another. In Deep History, the author David Laibman addresses some of the standard questions of evolutionary social theory and attempts to bridge the two concepts, by showing that historical and materialist explanations are present in both Marxian and evolutionary interpretations of history. His goal: develop a Marxist theory of history from an evolutionist perspective, and surmount the traditional confines of historical materialism, so as to embrace evolutionary conceptions in explaining social change. However, the unbalanced research methodology limits the reach and depth of Laibman’s contribution. The two main shortcomings of his work are discussed in the following sections: The Audience Problem and The Evolutionary Problem.
Directionality, (un-)intentionality, contingency, path dependency, evolutionary political economy, evolutionary historical materialism, critical realism