Born in Derby, England April 7, 1820 Eldest of children



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(1820-1903)

  • (1820-1903)


Born in Derby, England

  • Born in Derby, England

    • April 27, 1820
  • Eldest of 9 children

    • Only one to survive infancy
    • Weak & sickly child
  • No formal education

  • Father (George) was teacher

    • Taught him Sciences and Math


  • Father was unkind to his mother

  • Herbert thought of his mother as “simple-minded”

  • Uncle Thomas taught principles of utilitarian political philosophical

    • 18th & 19th-century--Jeremy Bentham and 19th-century English philosopher John Stuart Mill


Early age, Herbert strongly influenced by his father:

  • Early age, Herbert strongly influenced by his father:

    • Individualism
    • Anti-establishment
    • Anti-clerical
    • Early years showed resistance to authority and independence


Civil engineer for railway

  • Civil engineer for railway

  • Found fossils doing railway work

    • Sparked interest in evolution
  • Eventually quit job to pursue other interests



Began to publish articles in radical press:

  • Began to publish articles in radical press:

    • Argued for extreme restrictions on government
    • Against welfare
    • Against national education
    • Against established church


Became subeditor: London Economist

  • Became subeditor: London Economist

    • Laissez-faire beliefs
  • 1851- finished 1st book Social Statics

    • Power should be given to whole society
    • Lays basis for a limited state


During writing he experienced insomnia

  • During writing he experienced insomnia

  • Could only work few hours a day

  • Used substantial amounts of opium

  • Suffered nervous breakdowns



Experienced strange sensations in his head

  • Experienced strange sensations in his head

    • He called "the mischief“
  • Known for eccentricities like wearing ear-plugs to avoid over-excitement

    • Especially when he could not win an argument


Uncle died and left Spencer money

  • Uncle died and left Spencer money

  • 1855- 2nd book The Principles of Psychology

  • Soon after, he suffered from a nervous illness



The Social Organism (1860)

    • The Social Organism (1860)
    • First Principles (1862)
    • Principles of Biology (1864-67)
    • The study of sociology (1873)
    • The principles of Ethics- many volumes (1870s)
    • The Principles of Sociology- many volumes (1890s)
    • The Man Versus the State (1884)
    • Autobiography (1904)


Emerging upper class

  • Emerging upper class

  • Industrial working class

    • Drawn to socialism
  • Notions of inequality & social difference



1. Opposed centralized

  • 1. Opposed centralized

  • authority

    • 2. Supported separation of
    • church & state
    • 3. Anti-aristocratic
    • Aristocrats are lazy


    • 4. Against socialism
    • 5. Anti-military
    • 6. For secular progress & human reason
    • 7. Meritocracy


    • Small government is best
    • Government provides:
      • Military
      • Protection for individual rights


Spencer’s foremost concern was with evolutionary changes in social structures.

  • Spencer’s foremost concern was with evolutionary changes in social structures.

  • Evolution of societies is special case of a universally applicable natural law



Applies to all natural phenomena

    • Applies to all natural phenomena
    • Sequences of growth & development
    • Slow, step by step progress


Universal process

  • Universal process

  • Explains earliest changes which universe is supposed to have undergone

  • And latest changes in society and the products of social life



"There can be no complete acceptance of sociology as a science, so long as the belief in a social order not conforming to natural law survives"  (1891, p. 394).

  • "There can be no complete acceptance of sociology as a science, so long as the belief in a social order not conforming to natural law survives"  (1891, p. 394).



Cultural evolution

  • Cultural evolution

    • Humans adapt to environmental changes through culture rather than biological adaptation
    • Can not be stopped
    • Minimal government intervention
    • Benefits of individualism and Industrial Revolution


  • Societal Complexity

    • Increase in social groups
    • Increase in complexity of social structure
  • Differentiation of Functions

    • Creation of specialized social roles and institutions
    • Interdependence of the parts of society


Society development

  • Society development

  • Social institutions arise from structural requirements

  • Division of labor



“Instead of passing over as of no account or else regarding as purely mischievous, the superstitions of primitive man, we must inquire what part they play in social evolution" (1891, p. 339).

  • “Instead of passing over as of no account or else regarding as purely mischievous, the superstitions of primitive man, we must inquire what part they play in social evolution" (1891, p. 339).



Spencer--Coined the term

  • Spencer--Coined the term

  • Eliminates unfavorable variations of species

  • Focused on both biological and social processes

  • Appeared to be cold-hearted toward poor, widowed, and orphaned



Militant



Rather than based on physical and biological environment

  • Rather than based on physical and biological environment

  • Classification hypothesis:

    • Social structure is affected by relations a society has to other societies


Peaceful relations with neighbors Relatively weak and diffuse systems of government

  • Peaceful relations with neighbors Relatively weak and diffuse systems of government

  • Hostile relations Coercive and centralized authoritarian regimes



  • Characteristic trait of militant societies is compulsion (coercion)

  • Industrial type of society is based on voluntary cooperation



  • Militant--Industrial classification scheme gave him a pessimistic view of the future of mankind.



“If we contrast the period from 1815 to 1850 with the period from 1850 to the present time, we cannot fail to see that all along with increased armaments, more frequent conflicts, and revived military sentiment, there has been a spread of compulsory regulations. . . . The freedom of individuals has been in many ways actually diminished . . . . And undeniably this is a return towards the coercive discipline which pervades the whole social life where the militant type is pre-eminent.?

  • “If we contrast the period from 1815 to 1850 with the period from 1850 to the present time, we cannot fail to see that all along with increased armaments, more frequent conflicts, and revived military sentiment, there has been a spread of compulsory regulations. . . . The freedom of individuals has been in many ways actually diminished . . . . And undeniably this is a return towards the coercive discipline which pervades the whole social life where the militant type is pre-eminent.?



An Essay on the Principles of Population

  • An Essay on the Principles of Population

    • Spencer’s outlook on the problem of overpopulation was not quite as pessimistic as Malthus’
    • Spencer believed that overpopulation would lead to the “survival of the fittest”


Two basic outcomes

  • Two basic outcomes

    • Excess fertility could stimulate greater activity
    • Conflict due to scarcity of goods accelerate into political and territorial conflicts


Spencer acknowledged role of environmental variables on social organization

  • Spencer acknowledged role of environmental variables on social organization

  • Agreed that the Super Organic (society) and the Organism (body) had six similarities:

    • Society and individuals grow
    • As size increases so does complexity
    • Progression in structure is accompanied by a differentiation in function
    • Parts of the whole are interdependent of one another
    • Every organism is a society
    • Some parts die, and some parts go on.


Origin of Species in 1859 was welcomed by Spencer.

  • Origin of Species in 1859 was welcomed by Spencer.

  • Gave Spencer a respected intellectual tool for justifying his laissez-faire beliefs.

  • Darwin’s theory of evolution and Spencer’s survival of the fittest concepts mistakenly interchangeable.



Spencer not overly impressed with Comte.

  • Spencer not overly impressed with Comte.

  • Areas of agreement

    • Knowledge comes from positive methods
    • Invariable laws can be discovered and utilized
    • Different branches of knowledge form a rational whole.
    • Social phenomena form an interdependent whole
    • Both developed theories of evolution and progress
    • Spencer accepted Comte’s term of sociology for the science of superorganic bodies.


Spencer disagreed with Comte:

  • Spencer disagreed with Comte:

    • Societies passed through three distinct stages.
    • Government can use the laws of sociology to reconstruct society
    • Sciences have developed in a particular order.
    • Especially disagreed with Comte’s sense of a positivist religion and sociologist-priests.
    • Comte believed that individuals could be taught morality, largely through the positivist religion, but Spencer ridiculed the idea that morality could be taught by any means, let alone religion or the government.


Thomas Paine

  • Thomas Paine

    • Individual rights
    • Human perfectibility
  • Adam Smith

    • No government interference
    • Invisible hand of the market
  • Marian Evans (aka George Eliot)

    • Feminism (for awhile)


1. Not Darwinism

  • 1. Not Darwinism

    • Darwinism is Not teleological
  • 2. Survival of the fittest = Spencerism

  • Is teleolocigal-> Perfect society



Evil is eliminated

    • Evil is eliminated
    • People live in harmony
    • Society based on “Spontaneous voluntaristic cooperation”
    • Happiness for all


    • Evolution=god
    • Government (regulation & intervention)= devil


  • Published in radical press

    • Supported extreme restriction on scope of government


Only Policing

  • Only Policing

  • Everything else-> Private enterprise



Lamarkianism

  • Lamarkianism

    • Acquired traits-> Inherited
  • Emotions

    • Dominate intellect
  • Survival of the fittest

    • Traits change through use & disuse


Spencer believed that society was evolving toward increasing freedom for individuals

  • Spencer believed that society was evolving toward increasing freedom for individuals

  • So that government intervention, ought to be minimal in social and political life



  • Basic argument of Social Statics:

  • “Human happiness can be achieved only when individuals can satisfy their needs and desires without infringing on the rights of others to do the same.”



Gender

  • Gender

    • Earlier believed gender was learned
      • Later reversed position
    • Women’s intellectual abilities sacrificed for reproduction
    • Women destined by nature for domestic role


All natural phenomena explained by evolution

  • All natural phenomena explained by evolution

  • “Social occurrences” are natural phenomena

  • Evolution—Progressive change in:

    • Mass (population)
    • Density (crowding)
    • Differentiation (dividing into parts)


Evolution

  • Evolution

    • Specialization
      • Different functions
    • Integration
      • Parts work together
    • Adaptation
      • Change improves function


Class of Theories: Organicism

  • Class of Theories: Organicism

  • Society is similar to a special organism obeying its own laws of ‘progress.’

  • Societal Evolution



  • Spencer was one of the most argumentative

  • And most discussed English thinkers of the Victorian period.



Spencer claimed that knowledge was of two kinds:

  • Spencer claimed that knowledge was of two kinds:

  • (1) Knowledge gained by individual

  • (2) Knowledge gained by the race.

  • Intuition, or knowledge learned unconsciously=the inherited knowledge of the race.

  • Basic and final reality beyond our knowledge, which he called the Unknowable.



1. A positivist

  • 1. A positivist

  • 2. Sociology verify causation

  • 3. Sociologists should be cultural relativists



He died in 1903

  • He died in 1903

  • buried at Highgate Cemetery near

  • George Eliot and Karl Marx.





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