Who is Herbert Spencer?June 25, 2021
Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903) Famous English philosopher and sociologist. He was born in Derby in 1820. His father, George, was an unconventional, non-Anglican school teacher.
Spencer, whose many family members, including his father, were teachers, received no education until the age of forty. With strange pride, he said, “Neither in my childhood nor in my youth, I never took English lessons, so far I have no knowledge of grammar.”
Although he did not receive a systematic education and did not like to read, he put forward thousands of ideas in many branches of science and became Charles Darwin’s number one opponent in the theory of “evolution”. He owes his great achievements to his excellent observation skills, and with his direct observations, he easily found thousands of facts to support his thousands of ideas.
His first book, “Social Statics”, written in 1851, explains the development of human rights and the defense of individual freedoms on the basis of an evolutionary theory. In 1858, the idea of not limiting the theory of evolution to the science of biology, but of applying this theory to all sciences, appeared in his mind. Despite his poor health and being able to write only a few hours a day due to health problems, he began writing his nine-volume masterpiece, Static Philosophy, in 1862.
Static philosophy briefly deals with applying the theory of evolution to many different branches of science. The most notable part of this masterpiece, and the one on which Spencer has worked the most, is the three volumes of “Principles of Sociology”, which examine the application of evolutionary theory to sociology, the evolution of society. “Principles of Biology” and “Principles of Morals” are the other parts of this masterpiece that are the most talked about and undoubtedly contributed the most to the scientific world.
In 1858, he put into practice the idea of applying this theory to all sciences, not limiting the theory of evolution to the science of biology. In 1862 he began writing the nine-volume Synthetic Philosophy. Synthetic Philosophy briefly deals with applying the theory of evolution to many different branches of science. The section of this book that attracts the most attention and that Spencer has worked on the most is the three volumes called “Principles of Sociology”, which examine the application of evolution theory to sociology and the evolution of society. Spencer sought to develop his moral and political beliefs on the basis of a philosophy of Nature, like his contemporary Social Darwinists. Darwin’s theory of natural evolution and the “adaptability” he derived before this theory led the way in the application of natural selection in social life. According to Spencer, just like the survival of “the fittest” in the struggle for existence in nature, competition in society He was able to bring out the best.
Spencer also suggested that societies function just like living organisms. The more complex societies became, the greater the interdependence of parts. They need their members to contend for further evolution, as they naturally maintain their own equilibrium. But while struggle takes a military form in feudal society, Spencer sees the combination of competition and cooperation in industrialized society as necessary to replace this form. He also thinks that evolution works like a kind of “invisible hand”, turning private interests into general good. The longest-term trend of evolution is from egoism to altruism. In the process, social life will provide the greatest development in individuality with the highest level of socialization.
In the 1870s and early 1880s, his reputation reached its peak, especially in the United States, Russia, and England. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902. He often refused many awards and accolades. He passed away in 1903 after a long period of illness.
Herbert Spencer was one of the people who left his mark on the Victorian age by harmoniously combining different types of knowledge spread over a wide area. He played as big a role as Charles Darwin in the development and acceptance of the theory of evolution, and he was the first to use many terms used to explain the theory of evolution today.
Herbert Spencer’s Understanding of Social Evolutionary Change
Herbert Spencer’s Views on Religion and Science