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Spencer vehemently attacked the widespread enthusiasm for annexation of colonies and imperial expansion, which subverted all he had predicted about evolutionary progress from 'militant' to 'industrial' societies and states. Even in his writings on ethics, he held that it was possible to discover 'laws' of morality that had the status of laws of nature while still having normative content, a conception which can be traced to George Combe's Constitution of Man. Despite Spencer's early struggles to establish himself as a writer, by the 1870s he had become the most famous philosopher of the age. His voluminous work also treated “Super organic evolution” (Which today we would term social evolution), and evolution of super organic products (what we call cultural evolution). Jack London went so far as to create a character, Martin Eden, a staunch Spencerian. Towns and roads have become general, and considerable progress in knowledge and the arts has taken place.” Examples are thirteen-Century France, Eleventh Century England, the Spartan Confederacy, the ancient Peruvians and the Guatemalans. It also lacks uniformity. Offer Herbert Spencer, Sociological Theory, and the Professions. 2. Spencer was referenced by George Eliot, Leo Tolstoy, Machado de Assis, Thomas Hardy, Bolesław Prus, George Bernard Shaw, Abraham Cahan, Richard Austin Freeman, D. H. Lawrence, and Jorge Luis Borges. Spencer shows drawings of the pin in Appendix I (following Appendix H) of his autobiography along with published descriptions of its uses. Soon after his death, his philosophical reputation went into a sharp decline. "Spencer became the most famous philosopher of his time," says Henry L. Tischler. [8] Spencer's father was a religious dissenter who drifted from Methodism to Quakerism, and who seems to have transmitted to his son an opposition to all forms of authority. He was recognized as one of the important social philosophers of the 19th Century. It makes for increasing complexity. Dubbed ‘the philosopher of the Evolution movement’,1 he published a theory of evolution seven years before Darwin. Spencer, the sociological giant of the second half of the 19th Century was enamoured by “Social Darwinism”. Spencer argued that the evolution of human societies, far from being different from other evolutionary phenomena. "[29], Politics in late Victorian Britain moved in directions that Spencer disliked, and his arguments provided so much ammunition for conservatives and individualists in Europe and America that they are still in use in the 21st century. This was accomplished, according to Spencer, by placing all the subordinate clauses, objects and phrases before the subject of a sentence so that, when readers reached the subject, they had all the information they needed to completely perceive its significance. "The only other English philosopher to have achieved anything like such widespread popularity was Bertrand Russell, and that was in the 20th century. Its publisher, John Chapman, introduced Spencer to his salon which was attended by many of the leading radical and progressive thinkers of the capital, including John Stuart Mill, Harriet Martineau, George Henry Lewes and Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot), with whom he was briefly romantically linked. In his “First Principles” he traced everything in the world back through causal chains to two fundamental factors. (iii) The third law is, “motion is continuous and it is never wholly dissipated”. (iii) Principle of least resistance and greatest attraction. Get your first paper with 15% OFF. The chief difference between Spencer's earlier and later conceptions of this process was the evolutionary timescale involved. … Both as an adolescent and as a young man, Spencer found it difficult to settle to any intellectual or professional discipline. Indeed, he thought that the Unknowable represented the ultimate stage in the evolution of religion, the final elimination of its last anthropomorphic vestiges. He thought of unification in terms of development, and his whole scheme was in fact suggested to him by the evolution of biological species. Society is also moving from indefinite to definite stage. The force, the elements of matter, the motion are never lost in the process of change. The reforms, he said, were tantamount to "socialism", which he said was about the same as "slavery" in terms of limiting human freedom. It is the undoing of evolved forms. Music, conceived as the heightened development of this characteristic of speech, makes a contribution to the ethical education and progress of the species. It includes “the great civilized nations” such as the Assyrian Empire, the modern Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia. Spencer defined the simple society as “one which forms a single working whole un-subjected to any other and of which the parts co-operate with or without a regulating center for certain public ends.” These societies were predominantly small, nomadic, and lacking in stable relationship structure. Green, G.E. While the overall influence that "The Philosophy of Style" had on the field of rhetoric was not as far-reaching as his contribution to other fields, Spencer's voice lent authoritative support to formalist views of rhetoric. Huxley that met every month and included some of the most prominent thinkers of the Victorian age (three of whom would become presidents of the Royal Society). 4. His ashes are interred in the eastern side of London's Highgate Cemetery facing Karl Marx's grave. The basis for Spencer's appeal to many of his generation was that he appeared to offer a ready-made system of belief which could substitute for conventional religious faith at a time when orthodox creeds were crumbling under the advances of modern science. Ithaca: Conwell University Press. 'Liberty' was interpreted to mean the absence of coercion, and was closely connected to the right to private property. He was what we now refer to as a liberal utilitarianfirst who traded heavily in evolutionary theory in order to explainhow our liberal utilitarian sense of justice emerges.Though a utilitarian, Spencer took distributive justice no lessseriously than Mill. He rejected theology as representing the 'impiety of the pious.' Spencer originated the expression "survival of the fittest", which he coined in Principles of Biology (1864) after reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. The society is moving from homogeneous to heterogeneous structure. His critique of the Boer War was especially scathing, and it contributed to his declining popularity in Britain.[18]. Copyright 10. This evolutionary process could be found at work, Spencer believed, throughout the cosmos. It has also been suggested[by whom?] At Spencer's funeral the Indian nationalist leader Shyamji Krishna Varma announced a donation of £1,000 to establish a lectureship at Oxford University in tribute to Spencer and his work.[19]. [20] The alleged contradiction between Spencer's theory and the second law of thermodynamics might arise from limiting the definition of homogeneity and heterogeneity to the homogeneity and heterogeneity of the spatial distribution of matter. Diversity feeds upon itself. [27] He also argued that the individual had a "right to ignore the state. Society, which Spencer conceptualised as a 'social organism' evolved from the simpler state to the more complex according to the universal law of evolution. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was known as one of the leading Social Darwinists of the 19th century was an English philosopher and prolific writer. In 1902, shortly before his death, Spencer was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature, that was assigned to the German Theodor Mommsen. Like Comte, he was committed to the universality of natural law, the idea that the laws of nature applied without exception, to the organic realm as much as to the inorganic, and to the human mind as much as to the rest of creation. In Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim, the Anglophile Bengali spy Hurree Babu admires Herbert Spencer and quotes him to comic effect: "They are, of course, dematerialised phenomena. On account of these changes, there are stages in the evolutionary process. If a civilization is unable to make adjustment with the changing circumstances it caves in and gradually becomes extinct. However, Spencer differed from Comte in believing it was possible to discover a single law of universal application which he identified with progressive development and was to call the principle of evolution. The world is an order of elements. [citation needed] As William James remarked, Spencer "enlarged the imagination, and set free the speculative mind of countless doctors, engineers, and lawyers, of many physicists and chemists, and of thoughtful laymen generally. In 1858 Spencer produced an outline of what was to become the System of Synthetic Philosophy. For example, aggression was a survival instinct which had been necessary in the primitive conditions of life, but was maladaptive in advanced societies. Nevertheless, he devoted much of his efforts in reinforcing his arguments and preventing the misinterpretation of his monumental theory of non-interference. Writing after various developments in biology, however, Spencer rejected what he regarded as the ideological aspects of Comte's positivism, attempting to reformulate social science in terms of his principle of evolution, which he applied to the biological, psychological and sociological aspects of the universe. Thomas Spencer also imprinted on his nephew his own firm free-trade and anti-statist political views. This treated the world as a cosmos of benevolent design, and the laws of nature as the decrees of a 'Being transcendentally kind.' asked Talcott Parsons in 1937.[7]. Privacy Policy 8. Spencer’s theory of social evolution points out to two stages: 1. The last decades of Spencer's life were characterised by growing disillusionment and loneliness. He argued that by making the meaning as readily accessible as possible, the writer would achieve the greatest possible communicative efficiency. Herbert Spencer first used the term, ‘Survival of the fittest’. Spencer influenced literature inasmuch as many novelists and short story authors came to address his ideas in their work. For evolution, motion is essential, but it is not required that motion should be at one level all the time. Herbert Spencer, an English sociologist, took Darwin's theory and applied it to how societies change and evolve over time. Spencer's volumes on biology, psychology, and sociology were all intended to demonstrate the existence of natural laws in these specific disciplines. But he was not in favour of proliferation of state activities. Herbert Spencer: Social Darwinist or Libertarian Prophet? He further recommended that private charitable efforts would be wise to avoid encouraging the formation of new dependent families by those unable to support themselves without charity. Spencer was born in Derby, England on 27 April 1820, the eldest of nine children, but the only one to survive infancy. In physical evolution, a movement is from indefinite incoherent situation to definite and coherent situation. Spencer identified professions by their role or function in social life in his own evolutionary-based narrative (his distinctive, non-Darwinian, theory of evolution). In biological evolution only those creatures survive in the struggle for existence who are able to make effective adjustment with changing circumstances. From an early age, Herbert was strongly influenced by the individualism and the anti-establishment and ant… In his famed work Social Statics (1850), he argued that imperialism had served civilization by clearing the inferior races off the earth: "The forces which are working out the great scheme of perfect happiness, taking no account of incidental suffering, exterminate such sections of mankind as stand in their way. He sees progress as something innate in human beings that happens over the course of time and in response to a changing environment. Spencer termed this code of conduct 'Absolute Ethics' which provided a scientifically-grounded moral system that could substitute for the supernaturally-based ethical systems of the past. Spencer denounced Irish land reform, compulsory education, laws to regulate safety at work, prohibition and temperance laws, tax funded libraries, and welfare reforms. "The strange capacity which we have for being affected by melody and harmony, may be taken to imply both that it is within the possibilities of our nature to realize those intenser delights they dimly suggest, and that they are in some way concerned in the realization of them. Spencer followed Comte in aiming for the unification of scientific truth; it was in this sense that his philosophy aimed to be 'synthetic.' Spencer read with excitement the original positivist sociology of Auguste Comte. Herbert Spencer was born into a nineteenth-century world where the traditional logic of imperialism interacted with new developments like the Industrial Revolution, and new ideas like free trade and liberalism that emerged out of the Enlightenment of the previous century. He believed that the men Carlyle called "great men" were merely products of their social environment: [36] Although he retained support for unions, his views on the other issues had changed by the 1880s. Herbert Spencer- Social Darwinism Education I. Craig, J. [52] He also corresponded with Kaneko Kentaro, warning him of the dangers of imperialism. (P. Spencer believed in two kinds of knowledge: knowledge gained by the individual and knowledge gained by the race. (i) Persistence of the relationship between the forces. An allied class, equally unprepared to interpret sociological phenomena scientifically, is the class which sees in the course of civilization little else than a record of remarkable persons and their doings. Spencer has also been described as a quasi-anarchist, as well as an outright anarchist. Report a Violation, Biography of Herbert Spencer and his Works, The Contribution of Herbert Spencer to Sociology (1110 Words), Rules of Sociological Methods According to Durkheim. (Harmony of all laws). According to some social thinkers Herbert Spencer’s theory lacks practicability. His main contribution was arguing forcefully in favor of science in the controversy between classical and scientific education in Victorian England. Spencer thought that the origin of music is to be found in impassioned oratory. Moreover, industrial society was the direct descendant of the ideal society developed in Social Statics, although Spencer now equivocated over whether the evolution of society would result in anarchism (as he had first believed) or whether it pointed to a continued role for the state, albeit one reduced to the minimal functions of the enforcement of contracts and external defense. It was considered by many, furthermore, to be actively dangerous. Spencer posited that all structures in the universe develop from a simple, undifferentiated, homogeneity to a complex, differentiated, heterogeneity, while being accompanied by a process of greater integration of the differentiated parts. Spencer to Kaneko Kentaro, 26 August 1892 in, Sinclair, Upton; One Clear Call; R. & R. Clark, Ltd., Edinburgh; August, 1949, International Alliance of Libertarian Parties, International Federation of Liberal Youth, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, Papers of Herbert Spencer in Senate House Library, University of London, https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2019/entries/spencer/, "Letter 5145 – Darwin, C. R. to Wallace, A. R., 5 July (1866)". He continued writing all his life, in later years often by dictation, until he succumbed to poor health at the age of 83. Through such associations, Spencer had a strong presence in the heart of the scientific community and was able to secure an influential audience for his views. It is not practical and realistic. The tension between positivism and his residual deism ran through the entire System of Synthetic Philosophy. Spencer himself introduced the biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, who would later win fame as 'Darwin's Bulldog' and who remained his lifelong friend. Herbert Spencer utilized these two principles, physical and biological evolution in order to explain social evolution. It is interesting that in a new research Tracey Adams, studying professional self-regulation in Canada, points explicitly t… 1853) – See: In 1844, Spencer published three articles on phrenology in, Ronald F. Cooney, "Herbert Spencer: Apostle of Liberty", Chris Matthew Sciabarra, "Libertarianism", in. It is a special case of a universally applicable natural law. His works were translated into German, Italian, Spanish, French, Russian, Japanese and Chinese, and into many other languages and he was offered honours and awards all over Europe and North America. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/26138/?back=,36208, The Zoist: A Journal of Cerebral Physiology & Mesmerism, and Their Applications to Human Welfare, "Essays: Scientific, Political and Speculative, Vol. [citation needed] In the United States, where pirated editions were still commonplace, his authorised publisher, Appleton, sold 368,755 copies between 1860 and 1903. The term strongly suggests natural selection, yet Spencer saw evolution as extending into realms of sociology and ethics, so he also supported Lamarckism. The first objective of the Synthetic Philosophy was thus to demonstrate that there were no exceptions to being able to discover scientific explanations, in the form of natural laws, of all the phenomena of the universe. In response to being told that British troops were in danger during the Second Afghan War (1878-1880) he replied: "When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don't care if they are shot themselves. Spencer's political views from this period were expressed in what has become his most famous work, The Man Versus the State. In this respect, he followed the model laid down by the Edinburgh publisher Robert Chambers in his anonymous Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844). Spencer's reputation among the Victorians owed a great deal to his agnosticism. In Honderich, Ted. Highly focused on the proper placement and ordering of the parts of an English sentence, he created a guide for effective composition. At the same time, however, he owed far more than he would ever acknowledge to positivism, in particular in its conception of a philosophical system as the unification of the various branches of scientific knowledge. The changes in the form of matter are responsible for the evolutionary process. These undergo changes in form only. According to Lewis A. Coser, “The very- foundation of Spencerism is the evolutionary doctrine or the law of evolution. Herbert Spencer’s Theory of Social Evolution (Explained with Diagram) The most important contribution of Herbert Spencer to Sociology is the theory of evolution. From the in differentiated to the differentiation of specialized structure and functions?”. Herbert Spencer. )", "Herbert Spencer and the Disunity of the Social Organism", Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought, Relationship between religion and science, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Herbert_Spencer&oldid=1011618980, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2009, Articles needing additional references from October 2017, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2020, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from February 2016, Articles with Biodiversity Heritage Library links, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Botanist identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with multiple identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. These are matter and motion—two aspects of force. Spencer believed in the doctrine of the “Survival of the fittest” as expounded by Darwin. From the relatively incoherent to the relatively coherent? Spencer published his first book, Social Statics (1851), whilst working as sub-editor on the free-trade journal The Economist from 1848 to 1853. In 1858, Herbert Spencer produced an outline of what was to become the System of Synthetic Philosophy. Theory of evolution Herbert Spencer was known as one of the leading Social Darwinists in the late nineteenth- early twentieth century America. Analysts: Tom Seidenberger, Mary Weiss. Herbert Spencer was arguably the greatest English philosopher of the 19th century. His father, George, was a school teacher, but an unconventional man, and Spencer's family were Methodist 'Dissenters,' with Quaker sympathies. He was known for his contributions to evolutionary theory and for applying it outside of biology, to the fields of philosophy, psychology, and within sociology. Wells used Spencer's ideas as a theme in his novella, The Time Machine, employing them to explain the evolution of man into two species. The Complicated Legacy of Herbert Spencer, the Man Who Coined ‘Survival of the Fittest’ Spencer’s ideas laid the groundwork for social Darwinism, … (iii) Principle of least resistance or great attraction: The direction of evolution is always towards the line of least resistance or greatest attraction. 3. "[25] Spencer's last years were characterized by a collapse of his initial optimism, replaced instead by a pessimism regarding the future of mankind. He called this awareness of 'the Unknowable' and he presented worship of the Unknowable as capable of being a positive faith which could substitute for conventional religion. [1] Spencer originated the expression "survival of the fittest", which he coined in Principles of Biology (1864) after reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Content Filtrations 6. In the course of evolutionary change there is no increase in energy or force. The term strongly suggests natural selection, yet Spencer saw evolution as extending into realms of sociology and ethics, so he also supp… Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, and sociologist famous for his hypothesis of social Darwinism whereby superior physical force shapes history. On the one hand, he had imbibed something of eighteenth century deism from his father and other members of the Derby Philosophical Society and from books like George Combe's immensely popular The Constitution of Man (1828). He also became a member of the Athenaeum, an exclusive Gentleman's Club in London open only to those distinguished in the arts and sciences, and the X Club, a dining club of nine founded by T.H. Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard called Social Statics "the greatest single work of libertarian political philosophy ever written. Hermeneuticians of the period, such as Wilhelm Dilthey, would pioneer the distinction between the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) and human sciences (Geisteswissenschaften). Therefore, the heterogeneity of matter alone is not claimed to be ever increasing. Spencer was educated in empirical science by his father, while the members of the Derby Philosophical Society introduced him to pre-Darwinian concepts of biological evolution, particularly those of Erasmus Darwin and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Mere survival for existence is not enough for man. Herbert Spencer was born in Derby, England, on 27th April, 1820. It may speed up or slow down. This figure did not differ much from his sales in his native Britain, and once editions in the rest of the world are added in the figure of a million copies seems like a conservative estimate. The end point of the evolutionary process would be the creation of 'the perfect man in the perfect society' with human beings becoming completely adapted to social life, as predicted in Spencer's first book. ©2000 NewFoundations. Spencer, is the trebly compound societies that are actually the great civilized 59 HOSSAIN, D., M., MUSTARI, S., (2012) A Critical Analysis of Herbert Spencer’s Theory of Evolution, Postmodern Openings, 2012, Volume 3, Issue 2, June, pp: 55-66 This immense undertaking, which has few parallels in the English language, aimed to demonstrate that the principle of evolution applied in biology, psychology, sociology (Spencer appropriated Comte's term for the new discipline) and morality. The Psychology, he believed, would do for the human mind what Isaac Newton had done for matter. Examples are the Teutonic peoples in the fifth century, Homeric Greeks, Zew Zealanders, Hottentots Dahomans and Ashantees. are also present. Educational Theory of Herbert Spencer. (ii) The Second law is “matter is indestructible”. Spencer adopted a utilitarian standard of ultimate value – the greatest happiness of the greatest number – and the culmination of the evolutionary process would be the maximization of utility. Herbert Spencer's Critique of 'Great Man Theory'. Spencer writes, “Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion, during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation.”. Over the course of many generations the evolutionary process would ensure that human beings would become less aggressive and increasingly altruistic, leading eventually to a perfect society in which no one would cause another person pain. Content Guidelines 2. So Spencer utilized both physical and biological evolution for his theory of social evolution. The early 20th century was hostile to Spencer. Coined the phrase "survival of the fittest" Spencer was an agnostic who believed that the only way to gain knowledge was through a scientific approach. He also followed positivism in his insistence that it was only possible to have genuine knowledge of phenomena and hence that it was idle to speculate about the nature of the ultimate reality. The leading Polish writer of the period, Bolesław Prus, hailed Spencer as "the Aristotle of the nineteenth century" and adopted Spencer's metaphor of society-as-organism, giving it a striking poetic presentation in his 1884 micro-story, "Mold of the Earth", and highlighting the concept in the introduction to his most universal novel, Pharaoh (1895). Hence both science and religion must come to recognise as the 'most certain of all facts that the Power which the Universe manifests to us is utterly inscrutable.' For him as for Mill, liberty and justice wereequivalent. This permitted the adoption of a developmental perspective not merely in terms of the individual (as in traditional psychology), but also of the species and the race. In essence Spencer's philosophical vision was formed by a combination of deism and positivism. 2. Herbert Spencer: Herbert Spencer was a prominent functionalist sociologist, who likened the functioning parts of society as organs within a body. TOS 7. (1) The First law is energy or force tends to persists. Members included physicist-philosopher John Tyndall and Darwin's cousin, the banker and biologist Sir John Lubbock. But he was even more a moralphilosopher. Spencer viewed private charity positively, encouraging both voluntary association and informal care to aid those in need, rather than relying on government bureaucracy or force. He never married, and after 1855 was a perpetual hypochondriac[16] who complained endlessly of pains and maladies that no physician could diagnose at that time. Plekhanov, Georgiĭ Valentinovich (1912), trans. In the perfect society individuals would not only derive pleasure from the exercise of altruism ('positive beneficence') but would aim to avoid inflicting pain on others ('negative beneficence'). Plagiarism Prevention 4. For Spencer, evolution pervaded the inorganic as well as organic realm. Spencer's attempt to explain the evolution of complexity was radically different from that to be found in Darwin's Origin of Species which was published two years later. Dissolution is the reverse process. [23] In the 1890s, Émile Durkheim established formal academic sociology with a firm emphasis on practical social research. Epistimitic justification; Essays in the theory of knowledge. It is not possible to have a uniform pattern of social evolution in all societies. [11], Spencer's second book, Principles of Psychology, published in 1855, explored a physiological basis for psychology, and was the fruit of his friendship with Evans and Lewes. According to Spencer, all the phenomena of nature—the stars and planetary systems, the earth and all terrestrial phenomena, biological organisms and the development of species, all the psychological and sociological processes of human experience and behaviour-follow the definite pattern of change. Although Spencer lost his Christian faith as a teenager and later rejected any 'anthropomorphic' conception of the Deity, he nonetheless held fast to this conception at an almost sub-conscious level. In the United States, the sociologist Lester Frank Ward, who would be elected as the first president of the American Sociological Association, launched a relentless attack on Spencer's theories of laissez-faire and political ethics. that the character of Vershinin in Anton Chekhov's play The Three Sisters is a dedicated Spencerian. The basic elements of matter and energy in the world are neither created, nor destroyed but conserved. Compound societies were presented as having generally come about through either a peaceful or a violent merger of two or more simple societies.

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