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Spencer, Herbert (1820–1903)

Herbert Spencer was a British philosopher and sociologist who developed and applied evolutionary theory to areas such as psychology and sociology and whose influence at the time was almost as great as that of Charles Darwin. But his evolutionary theory, which accepted the view of Lamarck that organic modifications produced by use and disuse are inherited, gradually gave way to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.

Spencer's first book, Social Statics, or the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness, in which he argued that what characterizes the development of organisms is the tendency to individuation, presents a defense of human freedom and individual liberties and attacks the utilitarian claims of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, with its understanding of individuals as merely the means to ...

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