Keith Peterson introduced an entirely new side of the revolutions theme when he referenced Bruno Latour’s idea that humanity may never have been revolutionary. This concept is a blow to humanity’s collective ego, as much of the supposed superiority of man rests on this idea that humans are able to make revolutionary changes in order to improve their society while other species do not have the capacity to do so. However, Peterson also explained the difference between naturalism and sociology, which seems to suggest that humans are much more closely connected to the rest of nature than we often remember.
Peterson explained that sociology is the concept that society is a microcosm of nature, and explains nature as a whole, while naturalism is the idea that nature explains society. This topic warrants more discussion, as it is important to understand, or at least debate about, whether society reflects nature, or nature influences society and makes it the way it is. This connects to the common argument of nature vs. nurture. Do beings behave the way they do because of their inherent instincts, or because society has conditioned them to do so and thus shaped their nature? This may aid in explaining whether or not humans have ever been revolutionary.
Nature has never been considered revolutionary in itself. The constant changes undergone by the natural world have been explained by science, a result of the natural progression of evolution. Evolution is not considered a revolution, but a result of natural selection and genetics, processes that are no longer shocking or novel because they have been explained so thoroughly and become so widely accepted in the scientific community. So, if the principle of naturalism is true and society is simply another facet of nature, than changes that society endures are a natural progression similar to the evolution of the natural world. Therefore, society as explained by nature is not revolutionary, because change is simply a natural process that sustains life.
However, if the principle of sociology is more correct, and nature can be explained more thoroughly by its reflection in society, perhaps society is revolutionary. The way change manifests itself in society may be a reflection of the nature of change as a whole. Based on precedent, it seems the the overlying trend is that change is usually difficult to accept by society, often causing discontent or uproar because it represents such a strong diversion from the norm. This suggests, then, that perhaps this change is not a natural process, because if it was it would be more easily integrated into life. If society explains nature, society seems to be explaining that change is unnatural and unusual, and thus revolutionary.
All of this rests, however, on how one defines revolution. If revolution is defined as a change or new development that is so shocking and novel that it is difficult to accept, then naturalism would suggest that humanity is not revolutionary while sociology would suggest that humans are. However, if revolution is defined, perhaps, not by the reaction to a new idea but to the nature of the idea itself, it is more difficult to group revolutions into one category.