Spencer Herbert

<history of philosophy, biography> English philosopher (1820-1903) whose Education (1861) promoted a scientific approach to the creative development of intellect. In the systematic philosophical work that began with First Principles (1862) Spencer tried to generalize from Darwinian evolution a comprehensive account of progress in human knowledge, morality and society. The political views expressed in Man versus the State (1884) include a nearly absolute defence of individual liberty and a strict opposition to governmental interference. Recommended Reading: Herbert Spencer, Principles of Ethics, ed. by Tibor R. Machan (Liberty Fund, 1981); W. H. Hudson, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Herbert Spencer (Thoemmes, 1999); Robert G. Perrin, Herbert Spencer: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography (Garland, 1993); and Herbert Spencer and the Limits of the State: The Late Nineteenth-Century Debate Between Individualism and Collectivism, ed. by Michael Taylor (St. Augustine, 1996).

[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]


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