Herbert Spencer: Critical Assessments, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Herbert Spencer

Critical Assessments, 1st Edition

Edited by John Offer


1,776 pages

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Hardback: 9780415181839
pub: 1999-12-16
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Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was a major figure in the early development of sociology, famous for work which likened society to an organism and analysed it in evolutionary terms. In this context he was contributing to evolutionary theory before as well as after Darwin and argued consistently that society would be perfected through the operation of the principle that every man should be left free to do what he would as long as he did not interfere with another man's freedom.

Spencer's work has been neglected in recent years, but its indirect influence lives on both in libertarian political thought and in the discipline of sociology itself particularly through the work of Durkheim who was heavily influenced by Spencer. This major set traces that influence from the reaction of Spencer's contemporaries to the present day. Contributions come from across the social science disciplines and are often taken from difficult to access contemporary sources.

Table of Contents

1. General Assessments of Spencer's Work and Impact

2. Spencer, Darwin and Social Darwinism

Spencer Comte, T õnnies and Durkheim

The Theory of Evolution and Social Change

3. Conceptions of Society

Spencer, Psychology and Evolution

Spencer, Ethics and Evolution

4. Political Aspects of Evolution

Women, the Family, Children and Welfare

About the Series

Critical Assessments of Leading Sociologists

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General