Herbert Spencer

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Abstract

Herbert Spencer contributed significantly to nineteenth century thought. He enlarged theory through innovative conceptual enquiry, gaining recognition, in his native England and across the world, as influencing psychology, sociology, political thought, and ethics while in the process illustrating his theory of the mechanisms and processes of (largely progressive) evolution as universal phenomena. Much of his work pre-dated Darwin’s On the Origins of Species in 1859; what he published subsequently owed little of substance to Darwin. The supposition that there were ideas and related movements needing unification as “social Darwinism” in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is now questioned. Locating Spencer therein was always, given his work’s distinctive intellectual content, a severe injustice.

Spencer was born in Derby on April 27, 1820 and died in Brighton on December 8, 1903. His father, George, actively promoted science in the Derby Literary and...
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy
Editors Sellers M, Kirste S.
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-007-6730-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2021

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