Spencer at that time thought that evolution was caused by the inheritance of acquired characteristics, whereas Darwin and Wallace attributed it to. Despite the diversity of opinions to which he was exposed, Spencer's unquestioning confidence in his own views was coupled with a stubbornness and a refusal to read authors with whom he disagreed. In forswearing the right to use the earth — because he subsequently became convinced that land nationalization undermined, rather than promoted general utility — Spencer betrays just how much of a traditional empirical utilitarian he was. Although many of his specific ideas are no longer fashionable, Spencer went a long way in helping to establish the separate existence of sociology as a social science. He began by contributing to The Non-Conformist, writing a series of letters called The Proper Sphere of Government.
Herbert Spencer Biography, Life, Interesting Facts Early Life And Education Herbert Spencer was born 27th April 1820, to William and Harriet Spencer. He also remained a lifelong bachelor with strict discipline. Spencer's career became focused on intellectual matters in 1848 when he became an editor for The Economist, the now widely-read weekly magazine that was first published in England in 1843. Spencer's views here were rejected by Mill and Hartley. However, deductive hedonism fails because, contrary to what deductive hedonists like Spencer think, no general science of the causes of pleasure and pain exists, insuring that we will never succeed in formulating universal, indefeasible moral rules for promoting happiness. Changing philosophical fashions and ideological agendas invariably doom us to reconstructing incessantly our political philosophical heritage. Herbert Spencer was born in Derby on April 27, 1820.
Following the publication of his less successful book entitled The Principles of Psychology in 1855, his declining health prevented him from spending the majority of his time in his writing. It also, and more successfully, shows how utilitarians can liberalize their utilitarianism by building internal constraints into their maximizing aims. It resolutely though judiciously embraces indefeasible moral rights as necessary conditions of general happiness, making utilitarianism rigorously and uncompromisingly liberal. More Discuss this with the community:. His father, a teacher, had been a Wesleyan, but he separated himself from organized religion as he did from political and social authority. He also contributed to the development of the theory of functionalism. For a careful study of Spencer's impact upon American intellectual history see Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought 1944; rev.
He prophetically saw in the industrial might of the United States the seeds of world power. Indefeasible liberty, properly formulated, and utility were therefore fully compossible. For a few years, until 1841, he practiced the profession of civil engineer as an employee of the London and Birmingham Railway. In First Principles he argued that there is a fundamental law of matter, which he called the law of the persistence of force, from which it follows that nothing can remain as such if it is acted upon, because any external force must affect some part of it differently from other parts and cause difference and variety to arise. For human beings to flourish and develop, Spencer held that there must be as few artificial restrictions as possible, and it is primarily freedom that he, contra Bentham, saw as promoting human happiness. We have moral rights to these action types if we have moral rights to anything at all. In High points in anthropology, edited by P.
Further Reading on Herbert Spencer By far the best source on Spencer's life, education, and the development of his major ideas is his own An Autobiography 2 vols. Spencer was a social evolutionist without question but he was never crudely social Darwinist. Spencer provided businessmen with the reassuring notion that what they were doing was not just ruthless self-interest but was a natural law operating in nature and human society. Now, critics of utilitarianism from William Whewell 1794—1866 to David Lyons more recently have taken Mill and subsequent liberal utilitarians to task for trying to have their utilitarian cake and eat their liberalism too. The function of true liberalism in the future will be that of putting a limit to the powers of parliaments. Nevertheless, Spencer held that 'altruism' and compassion beyond the family unit were sentiments that came to exist only recently in human beings. Spencer later accepted the theory that natural selection was one of the causes of biological evolution.
His theoretical work shows that he had an impact on Emile Durkheim, who was also a structural functionalist theorist. Smart and Bernard Williams eds. His indirect influence on psychology, sociology, and history is too strong to be denied, even when his philosophical system as a whole has been discarded. If they are not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best they should die. Men versus the State: Herbert Spencer and late Victorian Liberalism.
His views concerning a science of sociology are elaborated in two major works, Descriptive Sociology published in 17 volumes, 1873-1934 and The Study of Sociology 1873. It ended up taking twice that amount of time, and Herbert Spencer was to spend almost the rest of his life working on it. So if Mill remains potently germane because his legacy to contemporary liberal utilitarian still inspires, then we should take better account of Spencer than, unfortunately, we currently do. By the 1880s and 1890s Spencer had become a universally recognized philosopher and scientist. The education which he received from his father and the uncle was more scientific than anything else. In short, like any moral intuition, equal freedom favors societies that internalize it and, ultimately, self-consciously invoke it. During the mid-19th century, his books were mostly sought out by people in search of new answers to old questions about the world.
This section contains 1,075 words approx. Though for Mill, utility always trumps rights when enough of the former is in jeopardy, with Spencer, fundamental rights always trump utility no matter how much of the latter is imperiled. Just as money, which is a means of satisfying wants, comes to be regarded by a miser as the sole thing to be worked for, leaving the wants unsatisfied; so the conduct men have found preferable because most conducive to happiness, has come to be thought of as intrinsically preferable: not only to be made a proximate end which it should be , but to be made an ultimate end, to the exclusion of the true ultimate end. For Spencer, then, human life was not only on a continuum with, but was also the culmination of, a lengthy process of evolution. The series 19 parts 1873—1934. He admired the American industrialists and became a close friend of the great industrialist and steel baron Andrew Carnegie. Natural selection, as described by Charles Darwin in the Origin of Species, published in 1859, completed Spencer's evolutionary system by providing the mechanism by which organic evolution occurred.
This exclusive dining club of nine members met on a monthly basis and had some of the most prominent thinkers of the Victorian age as fellow members. Spencer an all-embracing of as the of the world, organisms, the mind, and and societies. Even so, he was a child of ill-health and was taught at home by his father rather than attending school. Spencer developed an all-embracing conception of. Nevertheless, all industrious individuals, Spencer believed, would end up being in fundamental agreement.